The 50-A-Day Project: Books 51-60

This wasn't too much of a tough haul, as I made a point of picking books that wouldn't be as much of a challenge after the Noble Fiction Experiment of the last 10. That's not to say all of the books were light fare (OK, I'll concede that the Florence Henderson and Gorgeous George books weren't exactly heavy lifting, but, c'mon, I threw some Camus in there, too...and that marks the first time those three names were in the same parenthetical aside), and I did make a point of closing out with some fiction. I also made another Noble Effort to read a large short-story anthology, but more on that in the next recap, due to a fortuitous act of neglect on my part.

After finishing the 60th book, I had tallied 17,913 pages in 294 days (it was actually more because of the anthology debacle, but those pages will go into the next tally), for an average of 60.9 pages a day. And the average drop continues. Sigh. I am stumbling toward the finish line, though, again those numbers are a little off because of the anthology situation. Next time, I think the average might go up. Cross your fingers, OK?

Best Fiction Book: An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
Best Nonfiction Book: The Circus Fire by Stewart O'Nan (This was the book I was reading on the lower deck of the Staten Island Ferry on September 11, 2001, when I looked to my left and saw smoke coming from the direction of the World Trade Center. As other commuters saw the same and chatter started to fill the boat, I turned on my radio to see what the news had to say. There was still no definitive word as I headed into the subway, where I couldn't get radio reception, so as the train crawled slowly from the ferry stop to Chambers, I still didn't really know what was going on above me. But by the time I got out of the subway in midtown, the second plane had hit, and things were never the same. In the days that followed, reading a book about how people were trapped under the big top and eventually consumed in a large fire didn't seem like the best thing to read. So I put it back on the shelf. Ten years later, I decided to try again.)
Toughest Read: The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder (not because it wasn't good; it was. But most of the books in this batch went smoothly. The toughest would've easily been the short story anthology I had intended to be Book 60, but I left it at work before going on a vacation, so I had to quickly substitute some other books on the trip. I can almost guarantee that anthology will be in this space in the next recap.)
Easiest Read: Save the Last Dance for Satan by Nick Tosches
Number of Books on Loan: 0
Number of Books Given as Gifts: 0
Number of Books Signed by the Author: 3 (An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin, Save the Last Dance for Satan by Nick Tosches, and Life Is Not a Stage: From Broadway Baby to a Lovely Lady and Beyond by Florence Henderson)
Book That Was Sitting on the Shelf the Longest
: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Best Passage:
"Reggie 'Sweet Daddy' Siki, who began wrestling in 1955, may well have been the first black wrestler to dye his hair blond. As one newspaper put it, 'He is known as the negro Gorgeous George, and he is as tough as they come.' He also did a Siki strut to the ring. Looking back decades later, Siki mourned the golden age with a very idiosyncratic focus. 'We had midgets,' he said sadly, evoking Fuzzy Cupid, Sky Low Low, who stood forty-two inches tall, Little Beaver, Tiny Roe. Prince Saile Halassie, and the 'lady midget' Diamond Lil, the Fabulous Moolah's adopted daughter. 'Kids really liked the midgets. These days they don't use them. Wrestling is not what it used to be. There's no respect for the midgets anymore.'"
from Gorgeous George: The Outrageous Bad-Boy Wrestler Who Created American Pop Culture by John Capouya

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