September 05, 2013

Science Fiction-Free September X (yes, X)

This September is another milestone: my tenth annual month-long moratorium on reading science fiction. Way back in 2004, I decided that I read way too much SF and needed to read more, well, not-SF—lest I contract some sort of literary scurvy or something. So I set aside September of every year to expand my reading horizons a bit, usually choosing books of a more literary character, often with some sort of theme for the month.

It seems a little strange to declare a moratorium this year on a genre that I actually haven't read much. My main reading "project" since last year has been to read through the books of Stephen King, so I've been feeding my head with horror or fantasy, at least.

My current book is East of Eden by John Steinbeck, so book one for September will be to finish it—no small feat since I've been bogged down in it for about two months now and am only about a quarter through. I haven't read any Steinbeck since having to read Cannery Row back in high school. He isn't a hard read, just slow going.

Book number two is another high-school assignment: Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I recently watched Apocalypse Now, and felt inspired to read its source novel again and see if I like it any better at 42 instead of 19.

Book number three has yet to be determined, but it will be a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. I have often cited The Remains of the Day as my favourite novel. It's high time I read something else by the same author.

Finally, if time permits, I'm going to take another huge bite out of Les Miserables, which I have been working on since about 2010.

My success with these September reading programs has been hit and miss. Here's to success: I want to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy before the year is out, so I need as much time as I can get for such a long novel.