So, although this week has been a bit slower reading wise, I think I’ve decided to go for it and attempt to read 100 books this year (for reference, last year was 68).  I think it’s completely doable… assuming I can keep up my current pace — so far I’ve read 6 and I’m nearly done book 7, leaving only 1.33333 books to read in January with a whole weekend still to go, also I tend to read significantly more in the summer so I should be able to read more than 8/9 books in June, July, and August depending on when I take vacation.  What are your reading goals for this year?

I did read The End We Start From by Megan Hunter on MLK Day, and I recommend it to you, especially if you’ve impulsively decided to read 100 books this year because at 160 rather small pages, it can be read in just a few hours.  It’s also a rather beautifully, although sparsely, written book. In a nutshell — this is sort of a Noah’s Ark story about a mother and her son born just before a massive flood in London.  So basically, a book about living/mothering through crisis.

I found the fragmentary writing a bit frustrating at times, I wanted to hear more about what was going on and what had happened, and what’s told is really just what is directly experienced by the mother/main character in this story.  That was certainly a deliberate choice by the writer, who explained to NPR:

[t]he form really seemed to fit very nicely with both the experiences of new motherhood and the experience of being affected by an environmental crisis in this way. I mean, she doesn’t have time to write long things, and it’s very much written, you know, as though she is writing something. Sometimes she’s consciously reflecting on the writing experience, and so the fragmentary-ness of the narrative, I hope, has a sort of naturalness about it. It’s not too forced because it comes very naturally from her situation.

Despite the sparse narrative, and perhaps because you’re so in the mother’s head and only as aware as she is of everything else going on in the world, I did identify with her.  Particularly here:

A secret: I though having a baby would stop the fear.

When I was a child, my mother told me she would die for me, of course.

I asked her all the time. Tested her.

The fear of ending woke me up, it choked me.  It rendered me incapable. I thought a baby would stop it. Give me something to die for.

When you have a child, the fear is transferred, my mother could have told me.

In a way, it is multiplied she could have said.

I love that the narrator puts it this way — she’s not afraid of death, she’s afraid of ending.  She thinks a baby will change this feeling, give meaning and purpose and a sense of immortality maybe.  But it’s not that way exactly, certainly being a mother is central to this character as she’s written, and she learns that motherhood doesn’t fix things exactly although I think it’s also clear that her having this child does give her a sense of purpose through the biblical flood-like crisis.

Currently reading: Amy Tan’s memoir (almost done! LOVE it), just started Lincoln in the Bardo, not loving it so far 😦