What happens when two thirtysomething siblings relive the summer reading programs of their youth in an all-out battle of the books? The race is on as they read by the rules and keep tally on their logs to see who will be the ultimate reader by Labor Day 2011.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Too Quiet on the Eastern Front

The contest has been going on for a week, during which I've managed to read 80 pages of "The Great Night," or approximately 14 pages a day. This has caused me to remember an offhand comment my mother made my senior year in high school about how 40 pages a night is a reasonable expectation for an English teacher to ask of her students.* So it's nice to have spent the last week in not only a mild state of paranoia that Kerry has been effortlessly stockpiling books by women named Plum but also knowing that I''m not even meeting standards set for kids half my age.

In any case, I have vowed to be more strategic this year, and not let Kerry steamroll me as effortlessly as she did last summer. When I've told friends that we're resuming the contest,** their faces scrunch up in a mixture of pity and anguish, knowing full well I am pursuing a goal for which I am woefully ill-suited. Have I thought about giving Ultimate Fighting a shot, they gently inquire? Wouldn't my time be better spent learning Dutch?

Well, the joke's on all of you! This summer I will triumph! I will scour the Young Adult section of my library looking for large print copies of 301 page books. I shall snag celebrity memoirs and slim anthologies of poetry.

And I will read more than eight books this summer.

*The remark was probably in direct response to me complaining about my slog through "Crime and Punishment," yet another of the classics that I started and never finished. The pawnbroker fakes her own death for insurance purposes, right?

**Or, as they refer to it, "that stupid contest." One friend was kind enough to point out that our twitter handle, "SiblingsWhoRead," could also be read as "Siblings Whore Ad." I have surrounded myself with a nurturing support network.

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