I have an epic backlog of books read. Will you forgive me if I deal with them quickly and in one post?
(I will assume the answer is yes.)
46. Bread and Wine
This book was delightful! Someone referenced it during a great conversation, and I knew it was something I had to read immediately. The themes were food, community, family, nourishment, and the ways they weave around each other.
Since it has recipes, I’ll definitely keep it around for reference, and I’d also loan it out to friends assuming they return it to me quickly.
50. Franny and Zooey
First line of Franny: “Though brilliantly sunny, Saturday morning was overcoat weather again, not just topcoat weather, as it had been all week and as everyone had hoped it would stay for the big weekend – the weekend of the Yale game.”
First line of Zooey: “The facts at hand presumably speak for themselves, but a trifle more vulgarly, I suspect, than facts even usually do.”
I didn’t know this was two short stories! I’ve avoided this book, because I’ve always associated it with a certain level of pretentiousness. (Can’t give any good reasons for that association, but it is strong in my mind.)
It was better than I expected, but didn’t affect me enough to lose that association. This is probably a book that would benefit from closer reading and a good discussion, so I’m open to differing views!
51. Lost Cat
I bought this for a friend, and “borrowed” it before gifting. It’s a hybrid graphic novel, about a cat that runs away then returns, and owners who attach a GPS to the cat to figure out what happened. It was hilarious, and very sweet.
I still haven’t given it to my friend, so if you want to borrow it, we could probably work something out.
52. The Pothunters
So. Wodehouse. Multiple people have told me I’d enjoy his books. And there are approximately eight million of them available for free on the kindle. I made the poor choice of starting with his very first.
Don’t read it. Unless you are a man who went to British boarding school in the early 20th century, you won’t understand any of the jokes or references, and you’ll spend the whole book trying to find a reason to enjoy it.
53. My Man Jeeves
I nearly wrote off Wodehouse, but it was bedtime and I still wanted something to read when I finished that last book, so this time I went for one of the favorites.
It was cute, but I was still judgmental and didn’t enjoy the ways he portrayed men as idiots and women as prizes to be won.
54. The Man with Two Left Feet
Obviously, I don’t hate these books. I’ve learned his rhythms and find the short stories mildly entertaining. They’re also great for reading before bedtime.
55. 2001: A Space Odyssey
I HAD NEVER READ THIS BOOK! The most interesting discovery was that the book and the movie were created at approximately the same time, so Clarke and Kubrick influenced each other significantly.
I will totally read this book again. It was tense and challenging and I couldn’t believe how much compassion I had for a computer!
56. Northanger Abbey
(Why did I read so many books in the past month? Why am I so committed to completing this project? How am I going to convince myself to continue it in 2014 if I’m so grumpy about it right now?)
This might be the point when I discovered Project Gutenberg, and found a collection of classics available for free. I’ve never been excited enough to read this book to buy it, but I couldn’t pass it up for free.
57. Love Among the Chickens
Every Wodehouse book I read is better, which either means that I’m starting to fall for him or I’m making better choices.
58. William Tell Told Again
Ditto. (Obviously I need to write down thoughts about these books the moment I finish them.)
59. Ender’s Game
This was loaned to me from a housemate, and since I’ve been wandering around the house with too much time off, I sat down and read it in one day.
I LOVED THIS BOOK! Why are old science fiction books so compelling? I keep thinking about it, approaching from different angles. I heard that the Engineering School used to make their first year students read and discuss it, and now I want to audit that class.
Friends, do you suggest I keep reading the rest of the books written with these characters? Do they decline in value? Will they take away from this story?
59 books finished in 2013! So many books.
What are my plans for 2014? I don’t know. I’ll probably keep this up, if only because future me will appreciate having this as a reference. I might change the rules of the game a bit, to make it easier to keep up – this 10 book backlog nearly ended the project – or I might tighten them, and challenge my instinct to immediately start a new book once another is finished. The goal shouldn’t be rapid consumption of media, and it could easily move in that direction, especially if I try to beat this year’s number.
Do you have any suggestions for books to read this year? I have a hefty stack on hand, but my new-found love for Wendell Berry and Dorothy L. Sayers kept me busy last year – do you have any other authors to recommend?