• Reading Accountability: February

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 11 comments

    DD"s Book NookIn a recent interview Toni Morrison said, “The best advice I was given was to read.” If there’s a better tip out there for writers, I’ve yet to hear it.

    Last month I barfed up a reading accountability post in which I stated my goal to read 80 books in 2013, due to a poor output the past two years. I figured that taking it public would help me stick to my goal–much like our friend Leah Kaminsky, who vowed to shave her head on stage at WriteByNight if she didn’t finish a draft of her book by a self-imposed deadline. (She finished the book.)

    The thing is, in my post I didn’t announce a penalty in case of failure. Which probably left you readers wondering why you ought to give a shit.

    So I’m gonna throw it out to you guys: If I fail to read 80 books this year, in what way should I publicly humiliate myself? I’ll take answers in the comments below, via Twitter or Facebook, or by email if you’re embarrassed to make a public suggestion.

    Those who know me are aware that I’m only one razor setting away from shaving my head clean already, so that won’t work. I also considered something involving nudity–like reading aloud at WBN butt-ass naked. But that would be as much a penalty for all of you as it would be for me. Another idea is to throw a party where I buy all the booze and food, and all you have to do is show up; but as fun as that party might be, the prospect of it wouldn’t spur me on–there’s no embarrassment involved.

    So I’m trusting you all to come up with something that would shame me properly.

    My Progress So Far

    In January I read twelve books. February’s list brings the total to 21.

    What Happened to Sophie Wilder — Christopher Beha (Straight up excellent novel)
    Tinkers — Paul Harding (Straight up overrated Pulitzer winner)
    Slaughterhouse-Five — Kurt Vonnegut
    A Month in the Country — J.L. Carr (An excellent book from NYRB Classics)
    Seven Days in Rio — Francis Levy (Didn’t care for this one)
    Fra Keller — Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi (I don’t really know what to say about this experimental novella)
    The Orange Eats Creeps — Grace Krilanovich (I was excited to read this, but found it nearly impassable)
    Transatlantic — Colum McCann (So good; McCann is one of our best)
    The Correspondence Artist — Barbara Browning (I won’t finish this until later today, but I’m digging it)


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    Laura Roberts

    Does it have to be humiliating? You could pick a cause you REALLY don’t support (like, I dunno, the Tea Party? Rick Perry’s re-election? etc.) and make a big donation to them if you don’t meet your goal. That would be kind of embarrassing, both to your pocketbook and as the supporter of something really unpalatable. Hell, do the NRA. Does the KKK take checks?

    Heather Nelson


    Heather Nelson

    I say you have to purchase a crappy acoustic guitar and play it and warble for an hour on a busy part of S. Congress on a Saturday afternoon. A ridiculous getup would be a plus.

    Oh, and you MUST have your guitar case open, but with a sign posted on it that says, “I don’t want your money! Capitalism sucks.” Mwahahaha.

    Jonathan McNamara

    Looking for a punishment you say? I’ve got one.

    I think you should set up a window display at Write By Night. You, Mr. Duhr, will sit in this display reading the complete works of Stephanie Meyers. A large sign positioned outside will point to you as you read. “This man failed to read 80 good books. Now he’s reading Twilight.” You can leave the display when you’ve read them all.

    Good luck.

    Lori Thomas

    Take the display one step further. Put the booth up on Congress & read aloud the words of that great American authoress… E. L. James. That’s right make the pain 50 shades greater.

    Carrie Winters

    If nudity is a no-go, a hot-pink onesie–with footies–is a good option. A public reading of Fifty Shades of Grey or Twilight while wearing a hot-pink onesie.

    Jonathan McNamara

    I approve the hot-pink onesie.

    Martin Barkley

    If you don’t accomplish your goal of reading eighty books, you must watch Paul Newman’s “Cool Hand Luke,” at least once, although repeated viewings would work better as a remedy for waywardness. This wonderful movie is instructive on the subject of destructive personal rebellion and will help you to get your mind right.

    […] month I stated on my blog a goal of reading 80 books in 2013, and I asked friends to suggest methods of public shaming and […]

    […] people have spoken: if I don’t read 80 books in 2013, I have to perform a public reading of Fifty Shades of Grey […]

    […] what way should I publicly humiliate myself?” if I don’t get to 80 books, I asked. Your responses were amusing and sadistic, and in March it was decided: If I fail to read 80 books this year, I […]

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