They’re so lofty, right? Forty books? Um, okay, sure! Indeed, I am struggling, but I’m neither quitting nor budging on the number. Onward and upward, friends.
My original list of promising contenders still looks good and I can cross a few off thankfully. Like any good, list, however, it was meant to be amended and it shall. I’m still making tweaks and impulse purchases at the bookstore so for now I’ll leave the what’s-on-deck book a mystery. Here are the eight I’ve read so far, all of which have been added to the Book It page (with images for our visual learners):
- Martha Quest, Doris Lessing
- The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, Jonas Jonasson, translated by Rod Bradbury
- The Mistress’ Daughter, A.M. Homes
- The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt*
- Sisterland, Curtis Sittenfeld
- The Time Between, Karen White
- Dear Life: Stories, Alice Munro*
- Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, edited by Sari Botton (*)
I understand that a list doesn’t mean much without commentary so in the name of brevity I have asterisked the ones I would recommend you read. If you remember my book club post on The Goldfinch (and the fact that I couldn’t quit name-dropping it in subsequent posts) you’ll know that’s one I really, really want you to pick up. It’s so literarily full yet easily accessible to the casual reader; you will feel richly rewarded in the end.
I also loved Dear Life by Alice Munro. I don’t always reach for short stories, preferring the heft of a novel instead, but Munro is the absolute master of the short form and I suggest you try her before writing off the genre. Each story is about 20 pages, long enough for you to feel invested but short enough for our wandering attention spans. I read almost half of it on the flight home earlier this month and enjoyed each story immensely.
Lastly, as I mentioned the other day, I liked Goodbye to All That but would really only recommend it if you have ties to New York City. The insights are powerful and familiar, but it feels a little one-note at points and I couldn’t always resonate with each author. That said, if you’re a New Yorker, do it.
And while I said I wouldn’t share what I’m reading next I do have to share one funny anecdote: I will finally be back to book club next week and I went to buy the latest book yesterday (The Skies Belong to Us, Brendan I. Koerner) and I found two new books on my Kindle that I have NO recollection buying: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. Isn’t that strange? I’m excited (again) for both and it feels a bit like a present I’ve given myself.
So, what are you reading? I’m always looking for new books, much my list-making-and-crossing-off-in-a-timely-manner chagrin. I honestly can’t imagine a list that will ever stop growing or maturing.