My goal for the new year is to read 50 books. Help me out?

Every year for the past 5 years or so, I’ve made it a goal of mine to read 50 books. This should be totally doable, since that’s only a little less than a book a week, and I’m a fast reader. I’m not sure if I’ve ever achieved it though, because I usually start off strong and then lose count around May or so. I’m thinking that this year, it might help me out if I compile a list of 50 books that I want to read and then my keeping track would only involve checking the list to see what I’ve read rather than trying to remember to record every book I read somewhere.

So, I’m putting it to the masses…I’m open to suggestions for good reading for the coming year. To give you an idea what sort of literature I like, here are some of my more recently enjoyed or all-time favorite books:

  • I, Robot, Isaac Asimov
  • Pastwatch: The Redeption of Christopher Columbus, Orson Scott Card
  • Watership Down, Richard Adams
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving
  • The Prophet, Khalil Gibran
  • East of Eden, John Steinbeck

I have a weakness for re-reading my favorites, but I think that this would be cheating, so I don’t want to count re-reading anything as towards my goal for the year. As you can see from the above, I prefer classic fiction/literature over best-sellers (although I’ll read whatever Stephen King writes in the coming year, so count him as an exception). I also enjoy some sci-fi and/or fantasy, but it’s not my first love.

To start, I have a few books on my list that I’ve attempted to read in the past and either couldn’t get interested in (despite coming highly recommended) or got distracted away from and never had the inclination to start over. These are my “Get backt to these, they’re too important to abandon” books, and they include:

  • Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
  • The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass
  • The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene
  • David Copperfield, Charles Dickens

So, any recommendations? Anyone want to join me in this challenge? :slight_smile:

Here’s a few, some of my personal favorities:

In the Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

If you like Steinbeck, I recommend Travel’s with Charlie. Along a similar vein, try Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon.

To Kill A Mockingbird would be a cheater repeat for me (loved that book!), but all of the others look great. Thanks! :slight_smile:

If you liked Owen Meany, try Cider House Rules.

Have you read Margaret Atwood? In particular A Handmaid’s Tale. Or Robber Bride. Those are two of the most readable.

Sadly, I’ve read all of John Irving’s stuff…I tend to do that with authors that I like. I discover one thing I like, then I get a wild hair and whip through everything they wrote. Irving isn’t nearly as prolific as I’d like him to be. :smiley: I did the same thing with Robert Heinlein…I’ve read all of his major stuff and most of his lesser stuff (excepting some of the juvenile novels).

I’ve never read Margaret Atwood, but I’m certainly interested. Thanks for the suggestions. :slight_smile:

That’s a great goal! I hope you make it! Here are some from my kettle…

Stephen Donaldson’s three books which comprise the first Thomas Covenant Unbeliever series.

Walter Miller’s The Canticle for Lebowitz.

Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.

Plato’s Republic.

Also if you’re into trend setting Sci-fi, try Nevin’s Ringworld…

If I might make a more generalist suggestion, a few years ago I started making an effort toward reading the great classic literature. For the most part, there’s reasons that these works are considdered classics. So I made the attempt and if I found I wasn’t enjoying a book I just let it go and said “That one’s not for me.”

So my suggestion is pick up the books that everyone talks about, that are assigned to students who miserably trudge through them, and give them a shot. You’ll likely have a greater ratio of finding books that you like out of those that have stood the test of time than grabbing what’s currently popular.

Nothing against what’s currently popular, of course, it’s just there’s a lot more chaff to seperate out from the wheat there.

I might have to join you in this. I’ve already read two books this week. One was the first Harry Potter but I still liked it. The other was Kundera’s new one Ignorance. I think that I have around 15 books to read from Christmas, most I got myself.

I really have no suggestions for you though as my books range from Kundera, to Philip K Dick, the one I’m reading now, to Dumas and other French Lit and some Archaeology books. My big question is if I read so damn much how come I’m so dumb?

Maybe you should at least pick up The Princess Bride, I just bought it last night and I’m looking forward to reading it. Oh and can I start this week and not next week? I’ll just end it the week of Christmas next year.

What I’ve recently read and can recommend:

Anything by Roddy Doyle (The Commitments, The Snapper, The Van, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, A Star Named Henry )

Post Office , by Charles Bukowski

The Alienist , by Caleb Carr

Numbers , by John Rechy
And on the non-fiction front:

The Ghastly One: The Sex-Gore Netherworld Of Filmmaker Andy Milligan, by Jimmy McDonaugh

The Chronicle Of The Lodz Ghetto, 1941-1945 , translated by Lucjan Dobroszycki

Articles Of Faith: A Frontline History Of The Abortion Wars, by Cynthia Gorney

Skeleton crew by Stephen King

Gold by Isaac Asimov

Have you tried Jane Austen? That might be worth a shot

Carr’s The Alienist is great. Don’t bother with the second book, which I couldn’t finish

I really liked A.S. Byatt’s Possession as well. Some people find it kind of difficult, but it was overwhelmingly liked by my book club.

And the Ass Saw the Angel by Nick Cave. Fantastic book, set in the old American South, with very strange religious themes and beautiful language. One of the best things I’ve ever read.

About 5 years ago or so, a friend of mine borrowed a copy of The New Lifetime Reading Plan by Clifton Fadiman, copied each title in a piece of paper, put said paper in a large fishbowl, and would draw a slip of paper and read that book. He was very disciplined, and would finish the book and understand it whether he enjoyed it or not. Then he would take a few days before picking the next title. He would also read books for enjoyment (he was a big sci-fi reader) in between books from the list. He is by far the most well-read person I have ever met.

There’s always The Great Books of the Western World

Not exactly the same genre as your favorites, but I thought I’d throw it out there :slight_smile:

Looks like you enjoy LONG novels (no wonder you’re having trouble hitting 50). I suggest a few of the DISCWORLD books by Terry Pratchett. They are to fantasy whay HITCH-HIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY is to S.F. They are funny and (relatively) short.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; Betty Smith.

If you can get ahold of it. It took Powell’s about 3 moonths to find me a copy, and it set me back about $30 (used hardcover). I agree though, wonderful, disturbing, strange book.

I’ll toss in:

Passion by Jeanette Winterson

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Walden II by B.F. Skinner

My Year of Meats by Ruth Orzeki

All fairly quick reads that drew me in and held my attention.

I’ll take the challenge. I don’t really challenge myself enough in life and this sounds like one good way to do it. And fun, too!

Do you like animals? Try “Crazy Love” by David L. Martin.

Crazy Love would probably have been Martin’s breakout best-seller if it weren’t for the butt ugly cover. And, well, the fact that he’s better known for serial killer thrillers and dysfunctional relationship stories.

I’ve been buying remaindered copies for friends, just to get this book some well-deserved attention. It ain’t “literary” but it’s a heck of a good read.