Baroque Summer: The Schedule

Imagine Chevy Chase standing by a pool, clapping his hands, saying “This is crazy!” over and over. That’s kind of how I feel about putting this in writing. But as of this moment, I still want to read Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle trilogy this summer, which includes Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World. I read and loved Crytonomicon, Snow Crash and Diamond Age, and am assured by my husband that the trilogy is worth it.

So, here’s the plan. The pace is about 30 pages a day, or 200+ a week to finish the whole trilogy over the summer. Anyone who’s crazy enough to think they’d like to join me can chime in with feedback in the comments.

June 1, 2010: begin reading Quicksilver. Stop just before “Aboard Minerva, Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts” on p. 217
June 7, 2010: discuss up to 217 QS. Read up to p. 430 “Saxony”
June 14, 2010: discuss up to 430 QS. Read up to p. 659 “London”
June 21, 2010: discuss up to 659 QS. Read through 927, end of Quicksilver.
June 28, 2010: discuss end and all of Quicksilver. Start The Confusion. Read up to p. 197 “Off Malta”.
July 5, 2010: discuss up to 197 TC. Read up to p. 412 “London”.
July 12, 2010: discuss up to 412 TC. Read up to p. 617 “Book 5″.
July 19, 2010: discuss up to 617 TC. Read through 815, end of The Confusion. (insert Neal Stephenson joke of your choice here)
July 26, 2010: discuss end and all of The Confusion. Start The System of the World. Read up to p. 225 “Cold Harbour”.
August 2, 2010: discuss up to 225 TSotW. Read up to p. 448 “Westminster Palace”.
August 9, 2010: discuss up to 448 TSotW. Read up to p. 667 “Library of Leicester House”.
August 16,2010: discuss up to 667 TSotW. Read through 892, end of The System of the World. Pat self on back, unless it’s injured from toting around huge tomes all summer.
August 23, 2010: discuss end of The System of the World and entire trilogy. Wax rhapsodic about all the short books you’ll be reading next.

Note: chapters often split in the middle of pages, so all chapter titles above are where I’ll stop, not what I’ll read through. Also, I believe the page count is good for both the hardcover and the trade paperback (it is for the copies of Quicksilver in our house. Yes, we own two.)

As I said for my 15/15/15 challenge, I’m not a seasoned pro at this online reading challenge thing. I have no logo and nothing fancy, and links and discussion will be from the comments section. But I’m open to ideas.

9 Responses to “Baroque Summer: The Schedule”

  1. Amy Says:

    It’s intimidating, but I’ll give it a shot. I haven’t read any Stephenson, so have no idea if he’s my cuppa joe or not.

  2. Jack Vinson Says:

    I’m already done! Hah. They are a great read. Enjoy.

  3. Alex D Says:

    I read these a couple of years ago. By the time I got to the third book they had lost their charm. His latest (anathem) was much better.

    Good luck!

  4. Inquirer Says:

    I’m tempted just because I had so much fun with your last challenge, but I’ll pass. I am attempting to finish Ulysses this summer.

    By the way … have you read E. O. Wilson’s Anthill? I loved it. He won the Pulitzer for his non-fiction scholarly works on Ants and Human Nature. His debut novel was wonderful!

  5. Isabella Says:

    Maybe! I have the set, and even seriously considered reading it once, but my interest languished as the initial hype over it died down.

  6. girldetective Says:

    Isabella, I look forward to moving those huge things over to a “have read” shelf! Doing this gives me a sense of purpose, albeit arbitrary, and maybe will ensure that I follow through.

  7. girldetective Says:

    Inquirer, the last challenge and this are very different animals. 2700 pages over a summer is a lot more than 15 books in 15 days! (Though, all those 15 books were more than 30 pages, which is the pace. But still.)

    I haven’t read Anthill, but my boys are currently obsessed with ants, and I’ll check it out. Reminds me of A.S. Byatt’s Angels and Insects novella.

  8. carolyn Says:

    I *might* join you for this but honestly I’m not really going to know if I can continue past June 14th/15th until I pick up my syllabi those nights and see how demanding my school reading will be for the summer!

  9. Jennifer Says:

    I have been meaning to read these books for ages and am tempted to join you, but I’ve just finished an academic year and shorter fare is more likely for summer reading. You are brave and inspiring, and I look forward to reading your updates. Bon chance!!