19 books, 6,002 pages and counting

Leslie Arntz

Deep down inside, I believed Book IT! was created specifically with me in mind. I loved taking those crisp sheets of paper, hot off the copier, and meticulously filling out the title and author of the latest book I had completed.

Years later, I’ve rediscovered that simple joy of recording my literary wanderings.

Since online journaling is now passé, my defunct LiveJournal and Xanga have become book logs.

I decided to record every book I read and the number of pages for an entire year. Starting Jan. 1, my revamped blogs would hold the precious letters and numbers indicative of hours spent in mentally fabricated worlds.

Sick of paying inflated prices for books, I turned my fiscal attentions elsewhere — used book shops. I would much rather give my pennies and nickels to Last Exit Books for a stack of paperbacks in decent condition than to Borders for one brand new novel. My collection and my log are both growing substantially with this new outlook.

Since January, I’ve read 19 books, totaling 6,002 pages. The works span several topics.

I want to share the wonder I’ve found in these pages. Oprah has her book club. The “Today Show” and “Good Morning America” each have one, too. Well, why can’t Leslie Arntz? These are 10-second book reviews of my summer reading suggestions:

– Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Hundreds of little kids are sent off to battle school to learn how to kill aliens. Adults hope one of those kids is smart enough to save everyone else. Sci-fi meets psychology, and the mix is surprisingly agreeable.

– The Fencing Master by Arturo Perez-Reverte

A little romantic. Quite foreign. Very swashbuckling. Historical fiction, mystery and what every serious fencer desires to learn: the unstoppable thrust, conveniently described step-by-step.

– The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

A Baptist missionary uproots his family and sets off for the Congo in the middle of a revolution. As he slowly falls apart, his wife and daughters grow more resilient.

– Joe College by Tom Perrotta

Danny is a junior at Yale who deals with much of the same crap students anywhere face: menial jobs, drugs, sex and fermented cabbage. It’s all rolled up into the great burrito of college experience.

– Generation X by Douglas Coupland

This is more than just a novel. It’s a portal into the world of the early ’90s and the generation who lived in it. The marginal asides provide an ironic manual of terms.

– The Visitation by Frank Peretti

A burned-out minister gives up on his fickle congregation and cloisters himself from his small town. The arrival of a mysterious stranger who performs miracles forces him to resurface and grapple with the issues he fought so hard to avoid.

Read. Enjoy. Start your own book log. Heck, start your own fictional book club, too.

Leslie Arntz is a magazine journalism major and a voracious reader. Contact her at [email protected].