Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015 MERaT Reading List

Every year, my mother and my aunt and her best friend do this thing called the Moste Excellente Read-a-Thon.  The rules are simple, and I'm going to copy them over from our private Facebook group because I think my aunt says them better than I could.

1. Each reader shall compose a Moste Excellente Reading List, or MERL, of 24 books to read in the current MERaT year. Both new books and previously read books are acceptable for inclusion. Readers may modify their MERLs freely until January 10 of the current year, at which point they will be considered "locked in." Locked in MERLs may not be modified in any way.

2. Points for books read shall be awarded as follows. For each book read from a reader's MERL, that reader shall receive 3 points. For each book read that does not appear on the reader's MERL, that reader shall receive either 2 points (for books ≥ 150 pages) or 1 point (for books < 150 pages). All points shall be recorded on the reader's MERL in the forum. In addition, for each book ≥ 500 pages, the reader will receive one bonus point.

3. Exception to #3: For exceptionally long books that are divided (by the author/publisher) into volumes ≥ 150 pages each, the reader may choose -- pending majority agreement from the group -- to count each volume as a separate book and receive points accordingly. However, note that if the book is a MERL book, the reader may only receive 3 points for the first volume and must count following volumes as non-MERL books.

4. Each reader shall post his or her MERL to this group and shall keep count of points earned throughout the year.

5. On or about New Year's Eve, each reader's points for the current MERaT year shall be tallied, and the reader with the most points shall receive a Moste Excellente Reader prize (TBD)!

I didn't participate last year because I didn't feel like I'd be reading too many books anyway, making the list was daunting, and I had done a terrible job of keeping track the previous year.  This year though, I decided to give it a shot.  This round, I used the master list for one of the book clubs my mom organizes to make my list.  Each month has a category associated with it, so I basically just picked two I hadn't read out of each category.  If there was only one I hadn't read, I came up with another book from the category.  For the months that book club doesn't happen (June, July, and December) I invented my own categories.

Want to see my list?  Read on.

  1. Death of a Salesman - Miller
  2. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Irving
  3. Catch-22 - Heller
  4. Uglies - Westerfield
  5. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Wilde
  6. The Sign of the Four - Doyle
  7. Oliver Twist - Dickens
  8. Slaughterhouse Five - Vonnegut
  9. King Lear - Shakespeare
  10. All's Well That Ends Well - Shakespeare
  11. A Wizard of Earthsea - Le Guin
  12. The Last Unicorn - Beagle
  13. If Hooks Could Kill - Hechtman
  14. Death by Cashmere - Goldenbaum
  15. Kidnapped - Stevenson
  16. White Fang - London
  17. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass - Douglass
  18. Great Gatsby - Fitzgerald
  19. Catcher in the Rye - Salinger
  20. Little Women - Alcott
  21. Iliad - Homer
  22. Invisible  Man - Wells
  23. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - Austen & Grahame-Smith
  24. Emma and the Vampires - Austen & Josephson

Remember I'll also get points for all the other books I read.  So "Books I've Finished" will probably become a regular feature on the blog for the rest of the year.

At the moment I'm fighting my way through a book called The Future We Left Behind by Mike A. Lancaster.  It's sci-fi, or rather sigh-fi.  It's not even 400 pages and I just... I can't get into it.  It has a wonderful premise (humans are periodically "upgraded" by aliens), but it doesn't handle that premise well.  I actually don't care even a little bit about the main characters.  The world is so very different from reality that I can't suspend enough disbelief to accept it, and it's not described well to boot.  I really can't wait to finish it because I'm determined to get my 2 points out of it.  Otherwise it would be an enormous waste of several hours.  I've had it out from the library for like two weeks.  Time to be done already.

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