Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stacks of Books for the New Year

I read some really great books in 2013.  I plan to do that again this year (and the next, and the next, and the next, etc., etc., etc.) and my beginning reading list for 2014 follows. 

But first, I wanted to share a reading guide for the new year from the Bluestocking Salon, the blog of the Bas Bleu (champion of the odd little book  -- perfect for odd little me) website.  (And thanks to my friend, Bonnye, who told me about this site.)

Here are their reading resolutions for 2014, plus my suggestions.  For myself.  

1. Read something massive. Like, minimum-six-hundred-pages-long massive.  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is on my 2014 list.  At 784 pages, it qualifies.  
2. Reread a high-school assignment.  OK, high school was 35+ years ago, and honestly, I don't remember what I read for assignments and what I read for myself.  So, I'm just going to re-read a Jane Austen book and call this one done.  
3. Read a scandalous book.  Hmmm.  I searched for "scandalous books" on Goodreads, and it gave me lots of lists and lots of books, from Fifty Shades to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to The Giving Tree.  The Giving Tree?  Really?  Although I would gladly re-read that favorite to try to figure out why in the world it would be scandalous, I think I'm going to read East of Eden, which a lot of people think of as Steinbeck's magnum opus, but which, for some unknown reason, I have never read.    
4. Read a book from a genre you normally avoid.  Well, that would be science fiction or horror, both of which I avoid like the flu.  Any suggestions that won't make me sick?
5. Read a novel set in contemporary times, yet in a completely different culture from your own.  The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. 
6. Read that venerated classic you’ve always been ashamed to admit you skipped.  I skipped George Eliot's Middlemarch big time in college.  And by that, I mean it was assigned, and I used the Cliff Notes version.  Cliff and I were very good friends.  

7. Read a contemporary young-adult novel.  The Indianapolis-based The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I started this one last year, but need to finish.  
8. Read a biography of someone you think you’d hate.  I'm think I'm going to skip this one. While I really like finding out redeeming facts about awful people, I don't think I want to waste my reading time on them, just in case they're just awful and not so redeeming.
9. Read a poem a day, every day, for a month.  I do this anyway.  Just have The Writer's Almanac delivered to your inbox every day, and you can, too.  
10. Host a literary dinner party.  Well, this sounds like fun.  We'll have Madeleines, pisco sours and green eggs and ham.  
11. Write the opening paragraph of your autobiography.   Can't this blog count?  
12. Memorize your favorite Shakespearean sonnet or a monologue from one of the Bard’s plays.  Been there, done that.  I don't really have a favorite sonnet, but I think it's time to read them again.  Memorize?  We'll see.

So here is the rest of my current reading list -- any suggestions? 
The Valley of Amazement  Amy Tan
Those Who Save Us  Jenna Blum
Willow and Lost Letters Lori Roberts, a local author who I just met this past week
Two Old Women  Velma Wallis
The Invention of Wings  Sue Monk Kidd
Still Life with Breadcrumbs  Anna Quidlen (can't wait - to be published 1/28 )
The Orchardist  Amanda Coplin
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls  Anton DiScalfani 
Mrs. Poe  Lynn Cullen
Lookaway, Lookaway  Wilton Barnhardt
The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion  Fannie Flagg
The Pure Gold Baby  Margaret Drabble