Thursday, January 19, 2006

50 Book Challenge: 2006

Now that I've finally gone through and wrapped up my 2005 reading journal, it's time to begin 2006. A lot of folks who take up the challenge have upped their goal to 75 this year. I think that's a fairly lofty goal (I have a full-time job, this Web site, and a video game habit to support), so I think I'm going to aim for 52, which is a book per week. I'll keep the 75 ideal in the back of my mind, though…just in case.

Thus far in 2006, I've gotten through three books and am well into the fourth. I'll spend the next couple of days reviewing the ones I've read to date, and then I'll be ready to stay on track with regular updates for the remainder of the year.

Book One: Atonement, by Ian McEwan

After reading McEwan's Enduring Love, a book which I consider practically perfect in every way, I decided that he was an Author Whose Work I Wanted To Read. Since I have a long-term list of books that I try to get through, it took awhile before I got to a second book by him (though Saturday is coming up quickly in the queue). Atonement is even better than Enduring Love and is a book that definitely qualifies for the "I'm keeping this to read again" shelf. McEwan is simply a marvel at utilizing language. There are times when I read his sentences and despair of ever being able to write something so elegant, so masterful, so wonderful in my entire life. There are times when he enters the human mind - whether it be a 13-year-old girl or a 20-something young soldier - that make me wonder how he can have such depth of experience that he is able to describe scenes and emotions in such vivid detail. The story is a complex tapestry, but can be broken down to a simple description: it details the devastating consequences that come about as the result of a young girl's lie. The story begins in the early part of the century, right as Britain is about to enter World War I, and goes all the way through to present day, where the impact of the girl's "crime" still resonates.

For fantastic reading, it was an ideal way to start the year.


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