Reading 2011

The wrath of Almighty Beings feeling slighted by Santa Claus – oops, I mean, winter – has arrived here in Rochester, MN. Darkness descends at 4pm, and subzero temps (-31 with the wind chill yesterday) make activities like walking the dog or getting the mail impossible. So, when I get home at 5pm, after a brief workout and making the dog chase the ball up and down the stairs, I run out of things to do. No cooking, since my weekend baking experiment has caused me to contemplate wearing sweatpants to work. Cleaning and laundry? Did that over the weekend. I read three books last week (Suzanne Collins’ brilliant Hunger Games trilogy) and hadn’t picked a new one, so I watched 4 hours of Intervention and an hour of House Hunters.

Embarrassing. Not only did I watch 5 hours of television in one day, I watched 5 hours of bad, depressing television, in which relapses alternate with complaints about the lack of a man cave in the 6 bedroom house, in one 5 hour span.

So today I decided to create a reading list for 2011. No guarantee I won’t finish most of them before the ball drops, but it’s a start anyway. Culled mostly from “should’ve read in 2010” lists and “should’ve read in high school but the Christian Academy Book Burning Committee didn’t approve” archive.

Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. I gotta see what all the fuss is about.

Emma Donoghue’s Room. I like child narrators. Mostly because I think brutal honesty is more believable from the mouth of a child. We lose that ability as we age.

Scott Spencer’s Man in the Woods. Mostly because a story about a life unraveling after meeting a man in the woods sounds like a college creative writing assignment.

Karin Fossum’s Broken. Love psychological suspense. Love love love it. I think this one will go first.

Joshua Ferris’ The Unnamed. The premise is a man seized by an uncontrollable compulsion to walk. It ruins his once happy marriage and life. Sign me up.

Justin Cronin’s The Passage. It’s a vampire saga. I’m skeptical. I attempted to discover if my skepticism about Twilight would fade after reading, much like my 5-year hold out on Harry Potter (major fan now), but OH MY GOD STEPHANIE MEYER. Stop writing. You make Disney princesses look like third-wave feminists. Also, True Blood’s sexiness only outlasted it’s horridly fake Southern accents for so long. Maybe I’ll like these vampires?

Tim Rachman’s The Imperfectionists. Sounds deep.

Any new books in the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. It took me 6 months to read 4 1000 pg tomes. I’m curious to see if I have the stamina for 3 or 4 more. Depends on how long you take to write them, George.

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. They don’t read that one to the kiddies along with the Chronicles of Narnia.

Yann Martell’s Life of Pi. I’ve had it on my nook since Europe and have some kind of anxiety-provoked avoidance to it. Don’t know why.

Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day. I read Hills like White Elephants in the 10th grade and all I remember is being challenged and there was something about a spider.

John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. I read A Confederacy of Silence, which is not the same at all.

John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Yep, never read it.

Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace. Only because A Handmaid’s Tale was so amazing.

Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! I didn’t have time to read that and the other 10 books and 5 papers that semester in college… you know, the one where I started going crazy because I had too much to do.

I also have quite a few Richard Wright, Lee Smith and Carson McCullers books to get through. But the above list seems good for now. Any adds?


2 thoughts on “Reading 2011

  1. sarah says:

    I’m the only person I know who didn’t love the Hunger Games trilogy… I was so excited to read it because EVERYONE I know loves it. Ehh.

    Freedom is on my short list…

  2. dboothsummers says:

    the first book was much better than the second, and so on, but I still loved the first two a lot. i’m already 60 pages into freedom (which i purchased immediately after making this list) and it’s GOOD.

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