This novel has been in my book(graveyard)shelf for at least three years. It was a month when I felt I needed to start building my future library with a mix of classics and other books that interest me. The only other text I’ve read by Gabriel Garcia Marquez was “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” back in my undergrad days, and I’m sure the whole thing went over my head.
I’ve attempted reading One Hundred Years of Solitude two times in the last couple years, but I couldn’t get past the confusion that is the identical names of the father and the eldest son.
I’m not really big into science fiction. For most of my reading life, I’ve read fantasy. Harry Potter, The Night Circus, The Hobbit, Coraline… and most of my exposure to science fiction was with popular series like Star Wars and Doctor Who.
This year I decided I should read more books for fun, and my boyfriend lent me his copy of Dune. I knew that it’s a science fiction classic – and a lot of later works in the genre draw inspiration from it. I held this massive 800-page novel in my hand and got flashbacks to my War and Peace days. It felt like I would take at least a month to get through it, after all I only read during my commute to and from work.
I wasn’t really sure I’d like the book, being aware that there is some sort of nobility/empire politics and a lot of fictional science-y stuff. I was afraid it will go over my head. The book came with a glossary in the back, but I hate flipping back and forth just to understand one thing. And since it’s sci-fi, I thought there would be a lot of made-up words part of the world-building.
Remember when I declared finishing Tolstoy’s War & Peace (by reading one chapter a day) my one and only 2018 goal? Well…
I am about 350 pages behind on my reading.
Right now, I’m (jokingly) calling it as giving up my one and only resolution for Lent. I’m not even religious anymore, so it was a terrible joke to tell my traditional Asian parents to say the least. Sure, I pray from time to time because it’s therapeutic… but I haven’t gone to church in years. Not even for Christmas. Or New Year’s. So if that even counts as a thing to give up for Lent… no? I’m going to Hell? Yeah. I already know.
New Year’s resolutions aren’t really something I do since I have trouble keeping up with it for the rest of the year. I have a gym membership I barely use. I own a bike I haven’t ridden even when the weather was nice. Hell, I couldn’t even keep up with keeping a blog that I went off for months. But with some inspiration from seven special souls who managed to reach their goals back in 2017 through hard work and dedication, I figured I could the least I could do is try one small thing I’ve been meaning to do and make it my 2018 goal.
2018 goal: finish War and Peace by reading one chapter a day.
Obligatory “I already know how the story goes since I saw the show”. The 2016 BBC adaptation is on Amazon Prime Video, and naturally I binged the whole series the moment I saw it. And since I tend to obsess on things (like series, mangas, or certain groups of beautiful and talented beings) and feel this overpowering impulse to collect anything relevant, I bought the novel off Amazon the day after I finished the series. The novel sat on my bookshelf untouched, collecting dust along with other books I have yet to read.
The thickness of the novel is obviously intimidating. Hence the main reason it went straight to the bookshelf and not the nightstand.
But since this timeless mammoth of a novel (as Tolstoy does) is 363 chapters long, reading one chapter a day should work.
Knowing myself, I know I would miss some days because of pure laziness or simply being exhausted from daily life, so I sometimes read more than one chapter a day if I can. I’ve anticipated not being able to keep up with reading it regularly.
While the text is small (and the pages are thin, a lot like the Bible), most of the chapters remain short that I changed up my pace to at least 10 pages every day I pick up the book.
Right now, I’m on Chapter 14 of Part Two. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep this up, but I’ve managed to do fine this month. Perhaps I’ll write about my progress again by the end of February. If I don’t let this blog hibernate again, that is.
March 25th is Tolkien Reading Day! So to celebrate the brilliant writer, poet, philologist, professor, and creator of the magnificent world of Middle Earth, I’d like to share one of the quotes I love most from The Fellowship of the Ring: