12 Months, 12 Books Challenge – 6 Month Check In

I was inspired by a Facebook post earlier this year and decided to take part in the 12 Months, 12 Books challenge – with a few twists.

I have suffered from book hoarding. When I moved to Washington I left my enormous book collection in Pennsylvania (probably to the dislike of the relatives tasked with storing them). I arrived here with only a few books that my girlfriend had pulled from my collection. I vowed to no longer buy a book if I was not going to read it and that if I did buy a book, I could not move on to a new book until I finished it no matter how much I disliked it.Burmese Days Book Cover I have stuck to that and it has made me a much more astute selector of reading material. The only exception to this rule has been educational material.

I also decided that I was going to start reading the complete works of authors, starting at their first publication and ending at their last. I have avoided collections of essays, letters, and short stories and have only done this with their primary works of novel and novella length material.

The year is halfway over and I am ahead of schedule. I have made one exception to my sequential reading rule. I wasn’t able to find a copy of Robert M. Pirsig’s second novel, Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals, at any local bookstore so I moved on. I have few excuses to not be reading it now that I have Amazon Prime.

Atlas Shrugged Book CoverBooks Completed in 2017:

  • We The Living (1936) by Ayn Rand (Amazon)
  • Anthem (1938) by Ayn Rand (Amazon)
  • The Fountainhead (1949) by Ayn Rand (Amazon)
  • Atlas Shrugged (1957) by Ayn Rand (Amazon)
  • Down and Out in Paris and London (1933) by George Orwell (Amazon)
  • Burmese Days (1934) by George Orwell (Amazon)
  • A Clergyman’s Daughter (1935) by George Orwell (Amazon)
  • Keep the Apidistra Flying (1936) by George Orwell (Amazon)

I am currently nearly half way through George Orwell’s next novel, The Road to Wigan Pier, originally published in 1937.

I had opinions about many of these books and authors prior to even reading them. I have now learned that most of the opinions I held were quite wrong. Reading the works of these authors from first published to last (even though I am not nearly done with Orwell) has allowed me to see how their own perceptions and frameworks changed through time. It is really quite extraordinary.

Ayn Rand is an amazingly skilled writer through her entire works, from first to last. George Orwell’s writing ability improved immensely compared to his first book to the one I am reading now. Both of them are literary icons for very good reasons.

If you are considering taking this challenge – please do. You don’t need to wait until 2018, you can start now. I will provide an update at the end of the year!

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Max Ames

1 comment

  • Cheers to a fellow reader. Like you, I will read every word of any book I start even if I hate it. I started tracking all my books in 2008 and I just passed 250. Goodreads is a great app for this. This year my challenge is 36 books, but I am a couple behind at the moment. I keep picking freaking huge books! I love hardbacks and paper, baby.

    Three great fiction books to consider: The Nix by Nathan Hill, and The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (both are debuts so you’ll only have to read one each from these authors) and Moonglow by Michael Chabon. You’ll enjoy his whole body of work.

    Book club plus wine club in the works. Maybe you’d like to join.

    Matt Lennert

Max Ames

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