Last night I was reading some Thomas the Tank Engine books to Girlfriend.  In one of them, A Crack in the Track, Thomas is transporting some passengers when it starts hailing.  Then he has to stop because the hail has caused a crack in the track.  Part of the track is broken in half because it was hailing too hard.  It just makes me wonder:  1) What are the tracks in Sodor made of that they can be broken by some hail?  2)  What is the hail in Sodor made of that it can break train tracks?  I’m thinking it’s probably that the tracks are made of some substandard material, since they seem to break up a lot and can also occasionally be melted by the sun.

That reminds me of another issue I have with Thomas.  Why does Sir Topham Hat always blame the engines when stuff goes wrong?  The engines have drivers, after all.  Don’t the drivers have any control over the engines?  If not, what are the drivers there for?  If they’re not “driving,” shouldn’t they be called something else?

Also, I don’t like the new Thomas shows where the engines’ faces are animated so their lips move when they talk.  It’s kind of creepy.  But I confess I am just old-fashioned that way.

On a related note, Elvis brought home an Amelia Bedelia book from the library.  I vaguely remember reading Amelia Bedelia as a child–or rather, I think that I must have read at least one of those books as a child because doesn’t everyone at some point?  But when I was reading it to Elvis the other day, all I could think was, “Amelia Bedelia is such a freaking moron.”  I know it’s supposed to be funny, but somehow it just isn’t to me.  She makes me nuts.  Why is she so stupid??? Ordinarily, I believe, I have a better sense of humor than this, so why would I find Amelia Bedelia’s wacky exploits so frustrating?  What’s wrong with me?

I also wonder what kind of enjoyment Elvis gets from reading them because I think he understands most of the expressions in the book about as well as Amelia Bedelia herself.

That’s all that’s on this book-lover’s mind this morning.  Except this:

As I blogged back in January, my resolution for 2010 is to read all the books that have been loaned to me, that I have bought, or that someone has given to me as a gift.  Here is (I believe) a comprehensive list of those books:

1.  Sacred Causes by Michael Burleigh

I actually started to read this one–several times–but it’s really…boring.  I am tempted to give up on it.  It upsets me because, you know, I did pay for it–hardcover price, even!–but my defense is that I heard an interview with the author on the radio, and that was really interesting.  But the book itself has turned out to be a real chore.

2.  Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

3.  The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue

4.  Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg

Technically I’ve also already started this.  Unlike the Burleigh book, it did not bore me, but I only got through the first couple chapters before becoming distracted by some shiny new serial-killer book, and I never have gotten back to it.

5.  1776 by David McCullough

6.  The Wings of the Dove by Henry James

7.  A Death in the Family by James Agee

8.  The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

9.  Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

10.  Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence

11.  East of Eden by John Steinbeck

12.  Them by Joyce Carol Oates

This I have tried to read a couple times before–starting, I believe, in 1996.  Yes, some of these books I have had for a very long time.  Anyway, I have read a couple or three chapters, but it failed to engage me and I have yet to muster any enthusiasm for returning to it.  Though I have slightly more enthusiasm for it than for the Burleigh.

13.  The Early Ayn Rand

What this tome has going for it is that it’s just a bunch of stories and I probably won’t need to read the entire thing before I feel that I’ve gotten my money’s worth.

14.  Runaway by Alice Munro

15.  Set This House on Fire by William Styron

This one I was actually forced to buy from the library after Mister Bubby spilled grape juice on it three or four years ago.  Another book that I’ve read the first couple chapters of.  I have slightly more interest in it than in Them, slightly less than in Smilla.

Three by Jasper Fforde (borrowed from a friend I-am-ashamed-to-say-how-long-ago–but no, the friend hasn’t moved away yet or anything, so it’s not that horrible)
16.  Lost in a Good Book
17.  The Eyre Affair
18.  The Well of Lost Plots

I started to read one of these–I forget which one.  Whichever one comes first, I guess.  I remember it being okay, but I didn’t get more than a chapter in before I (say it with me) got interested in some other book and forgot all about this one.  Several times I’ve considered simply returning the books without reading them, but the thing is, I think I really do want to read them.  Sort of.  Maybe I’m just kidding myself.

19.  The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This is the newest on the shelf.  Princess Zurg gave it to me for Christmas.  It is also probably the one I am most interested in, and I will probably end up reading it next.

So what I really need your help with is deciding which one to read after that one.  Gentle readers, a poll: