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?
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.