Monday, March 9, 2015

Currently Reading 3.9.15


I'm a reader.

Just like everyone else in the history of English majors, I am a reader. Like many of these readers, I am often swamped with guilt over things I've not read, books I was supposed to love--or at least appreciate--and instead wish to ritualistically burn while laughing maniacally. (I'm looking at YOU, Winesburg, Ohio.)


There is just so much I feel as though I've not read. Every time I look at my TBR pile, I get a case of the "book sweats"(similar to meat sweats, but 100% cruelty free. Unless you're considering the self-flagellation). For the past five years, my day job was as a romantic book reviewer. I have spent countless hundreds of hours reading Milan, Green, LaFevers, Harris, and Frost (Jeanine, not Robert). While I worked diligently to also read the classics and whichever book that NPR has told me, "You must read this or we'll consider revoking your hipster-liberal card," I was not gifted with more hours in a day than anyone else. Combine that with life, school, raising my two young children, and learning how to bake an Alaska, and some genres fell to the wayside in favor of profit. 

This year, however, all bets are off. I am no longer reviewing paranormal romance books twice a week, apart from the books I review on my personal blog--which run the gamut. I am free to dance my fingers along the pages of books that never contain the words "dance my fingers."

A quick look at the "recommended for you" section of my Amazon page, drenches me in book-sweats. It's like Amazon is setting me up to fail. They know my weakness and they are going to exploit the hell out of it. 

Ok, so there's an Eleanor Roosevelt bio. I also love biography. Oh, Amazon, we're like BFFs.

The only thing shocking about this list is the decidedly small number of shirtless men appearing on the covers. I once had a kindle homepage open wherein every title that was visible featured a man who forgot to get fully dressed. I have an entire reading list named, "Oops, I Lost My Shirt!" 

In order to improve my "read" list, and, you know, acquire a less-embarrassing kindle homepage, I've taken to the Internet! I've been researching the reading lists of famous authors, schmancy English departments, and swiping a fellow intern's reading list for Professor Harrison's class, and photo-copying the heck out of it. 

Yes, there's the famous Rory Gilmore Reading List, but I feel like that was more curated for a character than for its value as a basis of education. Therefore, I'm completely randomizing my choices from the schmancy lists. (Because, better. Really. No, seriously, I've convinced myself this is the way to go.)

The syllabus of David Foster Wallace.  I've already read 4-10, so I'm feeling pretty ahead here.

Zadie Smith:

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, David Foster Wallace
Catholics, Brian Moore

The Complete Stories, Franz Kafka

Crash, J.G. Ballard

An Experiment in Love, Hilary Mantel
Modern Criticism and Theory: A Reader, David Lodge
The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis
My Loose Thread, Dennis Cooper
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark
The Loser, Thomas Bernhard
The Book of Daniel, E.L. Doctorow
A Room with a View, E.M. Forster
Reader’s Block, David Markson
Pnin, Vladimir Nabokov
The Quiet American, Graham Greene

Feeling slightly less ahead.  But, hey! I've read a few. That's something, right?

And because I like to torture myself, I picked an obscure, science-related, graduate fiction class from Rivka Galchen. 

Readings will include:
Long for This World by Jonathan Weiner
Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks
The Information by James Gleick
The Shaking Woman or a History of My Nerves by Siri Hustvedt
Out of Eden by Alan Burdick
Radioactive by Lauren Redniss
Essays by Freeman Dyson
Essays by Edward Hoagland
Essays by Rachel Aviv
Journalism by Julia Kagan
Moby Duck by Donovan Hohn
The Hidden Reality by Brian Greene

Two. I've read two of these. 

Bright side? I GET TO READ ALL OF THESE. Words on pages. Books on shelves. Long nights spent ignoring the dishes in favor of falling headlong into the sultry depths of pressed pulp. It will make me a smarter person, a better writer, even more awkward conversationalist. 

I can't wait.

--Cat

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