November is shaping up to be a much better reading month than either October or September, or even August for that matter. No, I haven’t finished a single book yet but I have started several that are all gripping in their own ways. I’m averaging around 60 pages a day and am confident that I would read more if I wasn’t working so much (and trying to get caught up on other things in the limited amount of free time that I do have).
I did hit a milestone of sorts recently, surpassing 100,000 pages read since I started tracking my daily reading totals at the beginning of January 2010. More than 24,000 pages have been in 2014, my best showing yet and there are still two months left! In that same amount of time, I’ve finished 404 books. Thus, my reading goal for 2015 will be to finish my 500th book.
During the past six months, I’ve read quite a lot more non-fiction than I usually do. At the end of last month, I started reading Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States and am finding it difficult to put down each night. This is a truly fascinating book that has opened my eyes to a long-ignored (by the general populace) aspect of my nation’s history. However, I haven’t (yet?) found any mention of the Pueblo Revolt of 1688 that occurred in New Mexico. It seems to me this would be something that should be included in such a work.
I am also currently reading The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die by Colin Cotterill, the ninth installment of the Dr. Siri Paiboun series set in Laos. I stumbled across Cotterill’s novels several years ago in Luang Prabang and purchased the first two while there. While I like this series, I enjoy his Jimm Juree books even more. So far, I’ve read Killed at the Whim of a Hat and Granddad, There’s A Head on the Beach both of which are set in a rural part of Chumpon Province on the Gulf of Thailand. They are extremely funny and give some remarkable insights on why Thai people behave the way they do. I’m looking forward to tracking down the third of these books.
My ever-changing reading moods caused me to pick up James Rollins’ debut novel, Subterranean, a couple of days ago. A quick read, I should be finished with it in another day or so. While the writing is sometimes stilted and the dialogue a bit pedestrian at times, the premise is very interesting: the remains of an ancient civilization found deep in the lava caves below Antarctica’s Mount Erebus. A team has been assembled to explore these caves and weren’t initially informed that a previous expedition had set off some four months previously, disappearing without a trace.
In other down-time activities, I’ve listened to Pink Floyd’s new album – The Endless River – quite a bit since it’s release just two days ago. I quite like it as a whole; some of it reminds me of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” while other bits evoke the best of the Gilmour-led band. But there are some sections that make me cringe (“Allons-Y (1)”, for example, sounds like it could have been an outtake from David Gilmour’s first solo album – I just don’t like the guitar at all on that track).
The new album is a fitting tribute to the dearly-departed Rick Wright (LOVE “Autumn ‘68”!) which was it’s main intention. Each listening reveals new layers and how each of the sections fits into the whole. I tend to enjoy long instrumental passages, but with this album I do find myself longing for at least one or two additional songs with sung lyrics (only the final six-and-a-half minutes, “Louder Than Words”, features vocals) to break it up. As it stands, The Endless River is an excellent album to have playing in the background while reading.
I’ve only managed to watch one or two (downloaded) television episodes each night. I’m caught up with Chicago Fire now and am about halfway through season three of American Horror Story (enjoying “Coven” much more than “Asylum”). New favorites include Gotham and The Flash and a friend recently turned me onto The Wire (how did I miss this one during it’s initial run?).
The new school term has just begun in Thailand. That means that my students who took a holiday are all returning (two classes using New Headway – Intermediate level – and one IELTS prep lesson a week). I have a new student (New Headway Elementary) starting today and there are several others scattered throughout the week. In fact, I no longer have a complete day off! I’m not complaining as the extra income will help to make this a rather nice Christmas/New Year season as by then I’ll have finished paying for my visa extension and work permit renewal.
As I reported a couple of days ago, I completed my address registration at Phuket Immigration Office. I signed a stack of photocopied documents at my school yesterday so that the designated staff member can take them to the Phuket Labour Office in the coming week to start the process for another year’s validity on my work permit. I’ll have to visit a clinic or hospital within the next couple of weeks for a blood test and cursory medical examination (“No, I do not have leprosy nor am I a drug addict or alcoholic”). This doctor’s certificate is only good for 30 days so you have to time your examination so that it doesn’t expire before the bureaucrats get to your paperwork. The final step will be to sign another stack of documents and once again visit Phuket Immigration Office to obtain the one-year visa extension. I really hope they go to the long-rumored two-year visas very soon!!
The last thing of note is a mention of the weather. The rainy season has been lingering with generally cool and overcast days. I’m love it! Yes, sometimes a torrential downpour makes walking to the bus stop (and even riding on the buses) difficult/wet but most of the time the rain is just a misty drizzle and the dark clouds keep the temperatures very pleasant. Enjoy it while it lasts because January and February will be blazing hot with rain a very distant memory!
Think I’ll read a bit more before going to work…