52 Book Challenge


Day 106 - I am a librarianI blame gin. Again.

It seems that every time I sip the juniper juice, I agree to something that I later regret. Consequences have included sewing classes and spiders, races and nude swims in public. Last time it was a zumba lesson.

This time it’s an ill-advised bet with a bookworm.

I don’t know when it all started exactly. There wasn’t too much gin (my face wasn’t red yet) but there was enough to set off some IM smack talk about who the bigger reader was. Before I knew it, I was agreeing to a yearlong battle of the books. In the morning there’s that post-gin feeling: a mixture of thirsty, sad, and vague regret. A note in my Moleskine and one final IM from the arch-rival – “I’m gonna kick your ass!” – refreshes my memory.

The goal is fifty-two books; the winner will have read the most pages. Each book will be accompanied by a short report. I am a 39-year old man doing book reports. The last one I remember writing was for Tic-Tac-Terror, a riveting Hardy Boys mystery (A-).

My arch-rival in this challenge is a 21-year old Russkie who drinks in books the way the she drinks in wine. She has the advantage of youth, energy, good eyesight, and a comfortable onesie. She is single and has no cat, and therefore fewer distractions.

I must win.

January 1st: I inaugurate the contest and the year with The Rising Tide, a historical novel depicting the beginning of World War II. Tanks. Rommel. Patton. Paratroopers. Awesome. And I spend the first few days of the year covered in a blanket, reading at a leisurely pace, and watching a rotating group of twenty-two massive men battle over pigskin on television. Piece. Of. Cake.

January 6th: The arch-rival finishes her first book. I am – according to my Kindle – 38% of the way through my first. I get a detailed report in the morning. It’s not a short book. It seems my leisurely pace is not going to cut it against this foe. Damn her and her onesie!

It’s clear that I have to step up my A-game.

January 9th: I finish my book and by the end feel that The Rising Tide is actually longer than the North African campaign itself. But that opinion could be swayed by my unique brand of impatience mixed with the onset of this realization: “holy crap, what have I done?”

January 10th: In an attempt to gain an upper hand on my speed-reading Arch-rival, I begin casually suggesting tomes so large that they could be used to hold down a tarp in a windstorm. “Ever read any James Michener?” I ask. And, “Boy, you should check out this Dumas fellow.”

Arch-rival does not bite.

NB: In the time it takes for me to mention these writers, Arch-rival finishes another book. Damn.

January 12th: It’s Sunday. Instead of engaging in my Sunday morning routine of eggs and sitcoms, I eat oatmeal and start reading. The Road. A happy-go-lucky yarn about a man and boy roaming through a post-apocalyptic world and desperately hoping to avoid the cannibalistic rapist murderers who govern its roads.

The day is spent in this bleak world. Upon reflection, it matches my Sunday mood. Moreover, instead of lazing about and watching sitcoms I’ve seen a hundred times, I read all day. So, despite who the winner might be, the contest has already forced me to make reading a priority. I guess everyone’s a winner. Except the loser.

NB: In the time it took for me to write this blog post, Arch-rival finishes another book. Damn.

Maybe I’ll find her a boyfriend.

  1. #1 by Amber Lite on January 14, 2014 - 3:28 am

    I enjoy the ever-living hell out of every post, Damien. Looking forward to the next book! No pressure or anything. (No, really. And I hope it’s going really well.)

    • #2 by Damien Galeone on January 14, 2014 - 10:27 am

      AL, you’re doing great too, young lady! So keep up the good work! You are flying high and I look forward to a few Miller High Lifes at your poolside to chat about writing and blogging in a few months! That’s a lot of exclamation points, but I’ve had a lot of coffee, so I don’t care!

  2. #3 by Andy on January 16, 2014 - 12:03 am

    What happens if you lose? Is it just the bragging rights or will this result in another embarrassing Damien moment a la “pantless in a bar with a vampire” or “do the pizza walk!”

  3. #4 by AN on January 16, 2014 - 8:57 pm

    I’d like to hear more about this pizza walk, please.

    • #5 by Damien Galeone on January 16, 2014 - 9:31 pm

      Oh MD, the pizza walk is something you experience, not something you hear about. Next time we’re out drinking..

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