December 15, 2009 at 10:21 am | Posted in Book Blather, Challenges | 9 Comments

Well, 457 actually.  I’ve been sick lately and not posting all that often.  Though I hear blog readers in general only want to hear about a blogger’s personal life when it’s entertaining…

Anyway, I’m 91% of the way to my goal.  There are, including today, 17 days left of 2009.  I have 43 books left to read in order to reach my goal.  That includes 37 Pulitzer winners with an average length of 446 pages, and five more challenge books.  It looks like I’ll need to get through 2.5 books per day, or something upwards of 970 pages per day if I complete my challenges.

The bad news is, that’s basically impossible.  The good news is, I’ll be on vacation next week through the end of the year.  Also, if I let go of at least one of my stubborn ideas, I shouldn’t have too much trouble hitting 500.

Now’s the time to place your bets!

“Journey in the Dark”

December 15, 2009 at 9:59 am | Posted in Fiction | 1 Comment

Journey in the Dark is essentially a rags-to-riches story.  Martin Flavin gives us Sam Braden, a boy driven to wealth by the demons of his poor childhood, only to find that his vision of success may not be all he had imagined after all. 

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This story was tough for me to read.  The protagonist and I both started working at age 10, and there were many other parallels between this fictional life and mine.  It’s a sad tale, relieved by a few moments of humor.  The title seems to refer to Sam’s fumbling attempts to find a place for himself in the world, without a clear idea of where he’s going to wind up.

Why read a book if it’s going to bum you out?  This question seems to be cropping up a lot lately.  For me, a book needs to feel true, and thus it needs to contain an element of heartbreak.  Beautiful writing about a painful subject can make it seem less grim.  Literature can help us find the beam of light behind the dark cloud in our own lives.

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