30 April 2013

The Hugo Death Sentence

I recently mentioned that I have backed off my original goal for finishing the Hugos.  I also thought I might have a better idea of how far off I am.

It took me nine weeks to read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell.  It was an extraordinarily long book, but it wasn't nine weeks long.  While I was reading it, I was also studying for the GRE and I may have watched an episode or two, or a season, of Downton Abbey when I wasn't jamming books in my face.  

Now I have found myself back in school, still working, still a dad, and with just over a handful of Hugo's left, some of them being nearly as ridiculously long as Jonathan Strange.  That is to say, I've taken too long to finish the Hugo's and now I'll have more reading with more urgent deadlines and all of my usual things to do and a lot less time to fit the Hugo's in.

I had originally envisioned that I would go back to this year, but I had also thought I would be done with the Hugos by then.  Ha!

So, how do I now approach these final Hugos?

Well, to start, I should explain that I am a slow reader, or I should say that I am a careful reader.  I read and re-read passages that are confusing, enlightening, awkward, or just rad.  I stop and think.  I drink a little wine.  I figure reading a novel should be taken seriously and approached with the same gravitas that any thousands of years old craft deserves (kind of makes you wonder why I started this challenge right?)  Okay, sometimes I read while Emmeline watches Powerpuff Girls or My Little Pony, but when I can, I like to have all my things arranged and I like to dig in.  This challenge aside, I take forever to read even the shortest books and I like it that way.

When I started this challenge, I finished each book with days to spare.  I was psyched, the books were shorter, I was staying up until all hours of the night and operating during the day on a tiny, coffee fueled replacement brain.  Since then the books have grown longer, I've taken on more commitments, staying up past midnight has become a death sentence, my brain is real (and still tiny) and I've had trouble getting through any book in under two weeks.  Erg.

With that in mind, my first thought was to just finish them out via audiobook, because it's possible that I could end up reading these until the end of time, but that's out because they aren't all available at my library.  Also, apart being a little disappointed about not meeting my self-imposed goal, I'm not terribly depressed about the idea of continuing this for a little longer.

I don't know yet how easy it will be to balance my required reading and my Hugo reading, but with just few to go, I don' t imagine it will take me more than a few more months.  I might take a while to finish the longer books and my posts might be a little irregular for the first few weeks, but hopefully I'll get into a groove soon and everything in the entire world will be perfect.  Let's plan on that.

And if all else fails, instead of "64 books in 64 weeks", The Hugo Endurance Project will just have to mean that I'm "reading books to death".  It might be a confusing goal at first but I assume the autopsy will clear it right up.


  1. We are very proud of how much you have accomplished in this challenge and are very proud of our marathoner. I love how you always try your best no matter the difficulty of the task (ahem... earthworm), and in some amazing way you make the person you are with feel like the most important. Even if that "person" might be a glass of wine and your current Hugo. Even if you haven't read as many books as me this year *smile* you are still doing an excellent job at reaching the final winner.

  2. Hi Jeremy,
    No need to apologize. You've done an amazing job. You'll finish the few remaining books when you can. I can relate to where you are. I started my challenge of just getting through the list last year, while I was unemployed. On Monday I got a job, finally. But it was bittersweet knowing I couldn't finish a book in a few days anymore. I started Dreamsnake (316pp) last Saturday and was over halfway through it by Sunday. Then came the first day of work. It took me until last night to finish it. I haven't even read your Rainbows End review yet.

    In addition to work, my partner is recovering from cancer treatments and I'm still doing most of the housework. And in June, we're going to Alaska to help my mother-in-law drive down to live with us (in a tiny apartment in Portland, OR). At least she and my partner are also heavy readers.

    I have about 20 books left, all from 1981 forward. So I'm dreading those larger novels as well. The pre-'80 books are all so short and sweet! LOL Plus I have the first in series books like Red Mars, and the Foundations. Plus I'll have 5 more if I reread Harry Potter, American Gods, the Ender Books (all read in 2005-6), and Dune (read in college in '81. So I still have a job ahead of me.

    So cheers, mate, and best wishes to your family! Good luck in school and we'll read your posts as they come.

  3. No worries. You will still finish them before I do! Two to go, Cyteen and that one that took you nine weeks. Almost an impossible feat for a new farmer who wakes before both the cows and roosters do. Which means I go to bed before the sun sets :-)

    Argh, we'll get there. Eventually! Just change your tag line under the blog title and we're all none the wiser!


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