We dress for the seasons, some of us eat with the seasons, but how many of us read with the seasons? My friend, the actor/personal trainer and self-described Pulitzer Prize winning reader Jane Lee (above) has an unusual approach to picking books. A native of California and 2006 graduate of Colby College in Maine, Jane now lives in Brooklyn. She sets an ambitious schedule for herself and picks her books according to seasons. When we met last year, she was coming off her fall reading program, during which she finished Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Jane Austen’s Emma, and Dickens’ Bleak House. You can catch Jane next week in the Ant Fest's What Happened to Bill Viola. She took time from her schedule to share her fall/winter reading plan:
This is my reading plan for the upcoming fall:
My short term goal is to finish The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (Michael Chabon). I’m almost done and I love it. I love it love it love it. This story is about two misfit nerdy Jewish boys who create the comic book “The Escapist.” It’s piqued my interest in comic books and I would like to start reading them. The allure of comic books is the secret hope that their creators are nerdy boys who get to be everything they want to be through the superheroes they create. Oddballs by day, masked swashbuckling debonair crusaders by night.
It’s already October so I should have started my “Halloween” month, but I fell a little behind because of rehearsals and Kavalier and Clay. During the fall, with its longer days and gloomy light I tend toward the gothic but since I’d like to ride this wave of the comics/graphic novel theme, I’m going to read my first graphic novel next: Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi). I’m hopeful that Kavalier and Clay will give me the momentum I need to finish Persepolis quickly; I’d like to give myself a week. Then I’ll officially kick off “Halloween” month with Woman in White, (Wilkie Collins) followed by The Turn of the Screw (Henry James). Reading these 19th century classics should bleed nicely into my November month, when I start Anna Karenina. I want to read it in November because it’s not quite Christmas season with the distractions of parties and out-of-town trips; it will start getting a little colder and will be more conducive to curling up with a book and spending a good hour or so reading, which I think I will need to really latch onto Anna Karenina. I’d like to give myself a generous 6 weeks to finish so that I’m done by the time I go home to California for Christmas.
My long term goal is to finish all the books that I have on my shelf within the next year. I have a lot that I haven’t read (31 to be exact) and I have this habit of buying books and I’m starting to get overwhelmed. SO, this next year my overall goal is to finish all the books on my shelf and not buy ANYMORE. That is quite a challenge I’m giving myself…
-- Jane Lee
I'm hoping that Jane will give us regular updates on her progress toward finishing the books on her shelves.