Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi Cover

I finished reading Life of Pi last night. I’d read it about five years ago, while still in high school. It’s the story of a boy, Pi Patel, who gets shipwrecked on the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger. There were many parts of the story that have stayed with me over the years.

“The reason death sticks so closely to life isn’t biological necessity–it’s envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous possessive love that grabs at what it can.” – p. 6

I love how the story is at once utterly believable and entirely fictional. I love how it questions the nature of religion, belief, unbelief, and love. It’s beautifully crafted and so fun to read.

What a start! I’ll start on Vanity Fair next!

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Contemplating A Challenge

bookshelf, originally uploaded by chotda.

After graduating a few weeks ago, I rediscovered substantial holes in my literary and intellectual history. I have always been aware of books I have not read yet, or read entirely. There is always something new clamoring for my attention, books to read for class, etc. They softly taunt me from my bookcases. I gave myself a week or two of unbridled laziness after the end of the semester, and decided that a routine needed to be established. And books are the perfect way to do that–structuring your day around reading time. Since my dear friend Melody accused me of never updating my blog (I can’t blame her), I’m revisiting this old haunt to present myself with a challenge over the summer: read 20 books or novels in the span of 3 months.

Twenty books seems like a perfect challenge. Some books on the list are short to keep the long ones from being too overwhelming. Some are fun and easy, others challenging and dense. It’s always enjoyable to pleasure-read, isn’t it?

So, without further ado, the list of 20 books I hope to read from June 1 through August 31 2009, in no particular order:

1. The Life of Pi – Yann Martel
2. Empress – Shan Sa
3. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
4. Little Dorrit – Charles Dickens
5. The Uses of Enchantment – Bruno Bettelheim
6. The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
7. The Gastronomical Me – M.F.K. Fisher
8. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
9. Inkdeath – Cornelia Funke
10. Mythologies – Roland Barthes
11. Istanbul – Orhan Pamuk
12. Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
13. She – H. Rider Haggard
14. Chronicle of a Death Foretold – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
15. The Displaced Legion – Harry Turtledove
16. Assassin’s Quest – Robin Hobb
17. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
18. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
19. The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
20. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

The list is somewhat subject to change, but these are the ones that jumped out at me when I scanned my bookshelves. Anyone who wants to play along is more than welcome to!