The Sunday Salon: My Over-committed March Book Stack

What was I thinking?  Back in December, March seemed so far away and I gleefully committed to two group reads.  In February I added two more commitments for March that sounded like too much fun to resist.  And then there’s my short story project, and a LibraryThing Iris Murdoch group offering further temptation, and I fear I’m rather over-committed.

The good news is, I really enjoyed reading through my February book stack.  I re-read a Jane Austen novel, finished my second collection of short stories, read an immensely enjoyable Tudor mystery,  and savored a novel by the great Molly Keane.  As I write this, I’m nearly finished with Rohinton Mistry’s Family Matters, which has also been a very good read.  Quite a satisfying month.

But March … oh, March.  Again, what was I thinking?

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From top to bottom:

  • Doctor Thorne, by Anthony Trollope:  This is on my Kindle, thank goodness, because print editions are over 900 pages!  This is for a LibraryThing group read. Several of us read The Warden and Barchester Towers, and wanted more.  But 900 pages more?  Good heavens!  CORRECTION: The Penguin Classics edition of this book is 592 pages.  Still …
  • The Word Child, by Iris Murdoch:  Also on my Kindle, and now vying for the “most likely not to be read in March” award.
  • At the Owl Woman Saloon, by Tess Gallagher:  These are my bedtime short stories for the month.  I’m not going to let my other commitments send my short story project off track!
  • The Big Rock Candy Mountain, by Wallace Stegner.  Another LibraryThing group read.  I picked this up in a used book sale two years ago, not long after reading Angle of Repose, which was terrific.  The group read inspired me to dust it off.  Now will I read it?
  • The Beth Book, by Sarah Grand: This is my pick for the Classics Spin, and the rules say I have to read it by April 1.  Eek!
  • In the Woods, by Tana French: My book blogging buddy, Rebecca @ Love at First Book, is hosting a group read in March.  As with the Stegner, the book was already on my shelves.  I really want to read it.  It seems like it’s just meant to be, doesn’t it?  Want to join me? It’s not to late to sign up!

Since I’ve been on a 5-books-per-month pace for a while, and one of these books is huge, it’s doubtful I can get through them all.  Oh, and did I mention I completely succumbed to hype and requested a book from the library, too?  Granted, I’m #46 in the queue but I’ve moved up about 10 spaces in the past week so it’s possible it will be mine before the month is out.  And then what will I do ?!!

To begin with, I’m not going to worry about it.  I’m just going to dive in and do my best.  Short stories will continue to serve as bedtime reading.  I’ll be glad if I get through half of Doctor Thorne, and I don’t mind spreading that out over two months.  Rebecca suggested a schedule for reading In the Woods, which looks manageable too.  I’ll have three books on the go at any one time, which is a real change for me.  But I’m up for the challenge … wish me luck!

Do you have any challenging commitments this month?
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19 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: My Over-committed March Book Stack

  1. Lovely books Laura, and I sympathise with your situation – I’ve only committed to two challenges this year, the Barbara Pym readalong on the LibraryThing Virago group plus a volume of Anthony Powell a month, and even with only those I’m struggling! It’s the reading by whim thing that gets in the way every time! But I am back on track with Powell now, so hopefully I will be able to cope with two planned books a month and go with my muse the rest of the time!

    • Kaggsy, you’re wise to limit your challenges. I used to sign up for lots of them, but my reading became way to structured. It was too much even for a hyper-planner like me!

  2. You have a great month of reading ahead of you. I loved Wallace Stegner’s The Big Rock Candy Mountain almost as much as Crossing to Safety (an all-time favorite), and finished the audio of In the Woods just a few weeks ago. Can’t wait to read/listen to French’s other books.

    • I’m glad to see an endorsement for Big Rock Candy Mountain. Crossing to Safety is also on my shelves. Stegner is an amazing author!

  3. My edition of Doctor Thorne was only 496 pages!! It’s a Dover Thrift edition, so it doesn’t have any end notes, and the print was a decent size. I think I read the whole thing in three or four days, it was a really fast read. I loved it, it’s one of my favorites by Trollope so far.

    I finished The Last Chronicle of Barset recently, which is by far the longest of the series. It was close to 900 pages but a lot of that is notes, I think it’s closer to 860 pages of actual story.

    And once again I have also overcommitted myself for March. I have two book groups that I coordinate at the library, so I have to read both The Observations by Jane Harris and re-read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; I also signed up for a guest post for Diana Wynne Jones month; and I still haven’t written the post for my Classics Spin selection, which was thankfully a short book!

    • Karen, your comment sent me off to double-check my figures. I don’t know where i found the page count I mentioned — perhaps I was looking at The Last Chronicle of Barset — but I was way wrong! The Penguin Classics edition of Doctor Thorne is “only” 592 pages. Still a chunkster, but not quite as intimidating. I’m also glad to hear it was a fast read for you. Fingers crossed!

      Good luck with your reading commitments; it sounds like you have a busy month ahead as well.

  4. You did fantastic in February!I think I’m probably over-committed this month too! It’s fun to try to read everything! :-) I hope you enjoy your books.

  5. Am suffering likewise. I have a group read of Crime and Punishment ongoing (not a book you can read quickly); and Of Mice and Men for my book club read plus A Farewell to Arms for the Classics Club spin. And I am trying to finish Little Dorrit. All of which sounded a lot already but you’ve gone and reminded me that I did say I was going to do the Dr Thorne read along. Oh help…

    • Karen, you’re brave to take on C&P! Be sure to note my corrected page count for Doctor Thorne — I don’t want to be the one who scared you away!

      • It took me four years to pluck up the courage to get the book from the cupboard and actually open it. But I was pleasantly surprised to find its nowhere as difficult as I expected.

  6. ooh good luck with those – I look forward to your thoughts on Trollope. Glad you are enjoying Family Matters – it is a great book. Have you read A fine Balance? it is amazing – but sad.

    • Ali, A Fine Balance was my introduction to Mistry, and it’s one of my all-time favorites. I agree it’s sad, but so powerful too.

  7. You can do it! And thanks for the shout out!

    I actually feel overwhelmed a little, too! I requested a few upcoming releases from NetGalley, and of course borrowed way too many from the digital library. . . so I’m just going to read. And read. And read. :) But I wrote down the books in the order that I will read them, so that helps!

    • Rebecca, you have your work cut out for you too! Making a list helps me too — in fact these “book stack” posts are kind of like my written list. Good luck with your reading!

  8. Seems so recent that you’d only just reread and enjoyed (more) the first Trollope, so it seems tremendously impressive to me to hear that you’re heading for Doctor Thorne now. (I’ve still only read the first!) The Grand novel is on my stacks as well….I remember reading so many amazing things about it (maybe in Nicola Beauman’s book?); I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts on it…even if you don’t finish in March after all!

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