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A few weeks ago, I received a notice that my blog domain was expiring. I jumped to renew it and realized just how long it’s been since I’ve actually written. The reality is that writing on here, to the few of you who read and comment, is a bit of a therapy to me; one that I miss when it isn’t there. The other reality is, sometimes I just can’t muster anything interesting to talk about, and so it goes.

Since the holidays, life has been a bit all over the place. I’m sure this is just the ebb and flow of being an adult, but it does take noticeably more effort to zen out and relax than it once did. I used to read on the commute to work each morning, but lately I’ve been getting rides to work with my roommate instead. I used to read before bed, but now I can hardly keep my eyes open once I get into bed. My interest in books is as voracious as always, but my consumption of them is not. So, to get back to the books and back into the swing of things, I wanted to do two things.

1 – A few point-form updates on things I’ve read, am reading, have bought.
2 – A fun list of books I’d like to read in the eventual future.

So, here goes:

  • I successfully completed by Book Buying Ban in April and celebrated by buying some graphic novels, which are still sitting beside my bed.
  • Not too long ago, I finished George Saunders Lincoln in the Bardo. If you can do weird, do this. I’ve never read a book that can leave me in a state of awe from such gorgeous language on one page, and follow it by a scene of ghosts having an orgy on the next. A few friends and I went to see Saunders speak shortly after we finished the book, and were lulled into complete mush by how lovely, bright and kind he was. I’m currently in line waiting for the audiobook from the library because the cast is exceptional!
  • I’m just about finished Roxane Gay’s memoir Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body and it is exceptional. I have a million things to say but need time to formulate my thoughts somehow. But for now, let me at least put it on your radar (it releases in June)!
  • Some people I love very much are going through some extremely painful months as of late, and so I trusted a recommendation from a colleague and bought a book called There’s No Good Card For This by Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell. You know those no-bullshit cards you see at bookstores, with sentiments so perfectly described and the best illustrations too? Those are by Emily McDowell. This book is a joint effort to help you understand what to say and how to act in extremely hard situations. I’m reading it slowly between other things and it is making me feel like a stronger, better friend every single time I return to it. I highly recommend it if you or anyone you know is going through a really tough time. I’ve been hearing amazing things about Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Option B, as well, so I’ll be checking that one out as soon as I can.

And now, on to Part Two.

A little while ago, while reading my blogger friend, Rick’s most recent post, I noticed a tab on his blog that I hadn’t seen before called Another 100 Books. In it, he has listed 100 books he wants to read, eventually. I love this idea because I have mountains of books I would love to read and yet no real space to keep track of them beyond my own personal notebooks. They are books I want to read, and want to keep track of, but will definitely not have them all finished within a set timeline.

A few weeks back I read in an article from Lit Hub that based on my age and life expectancy (a little morbid, yes?) I will read anywhere between 672 and 4,480 books in the supposed 56 years of life I have left. The lower is meant for a moderate reader while the higher is a “super reader”. I likely hover somewhere in between those two categorizations and immediately started thinking about how many books I will actually read before my time comes. It made me note that there are SO many books I have that I feel like I will love, and so I save them for a time when I really need them. But.. why?

Rick’s list made me want to make one of my own; a list of books I want to read: some because I know I will love them, some because I think they will broaden my understanding of the world, some because they are classics and I really just want to try. So, I have the list. Mine is .. shorter. But I am going to style it in the same way he did, by date. I hope to get a few finished by the end of this year and finally make a dent in my owned and unread books. I’ll make a separate tab to track this throughout the year as well! My interest clearly lies in more recent publications, and I clearly want to read all the Shirley Jackson I can. I’m so looking forward to making dents in this. Thanks for the awesome idea, Rick!

  1. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (1813)
  2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo (1831)
  3. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte (1847)
  4. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (1847)
  5. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)
  6. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott (1868)
  7. The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde (1890)
  8. Dracula, Bram Stoker (1897)
  9. Anne of Avonlea, L.M. Montgomery (1909)
  10. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)
  11. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley (1932)
  12. Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell (1936)
  13. Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck (1939)
  14. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith (1943)
  15. The Portable Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker (1944)
  16. Animal Farm, George Orwell (1945)
  17. The Lottery and Other Stories, Shirley Jackson (1948)
  18. I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith (1948)
  19. 1984, George Orwell (1949)
  20. My Cousin Rachel, Daphne Du Maurier (1951)
  21. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (1953)
  22. Life Among the Savages, Shirley Jackson (1953)
  23. Poems by Emily Dickinson, Emily Dickinson (Compiled 1955)
  24. Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin (1956)
  25. Raising Demons, Shirley Jackson (1957)
  26. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (1960)
  27. Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury (1962)
  28. We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson (1962)
  29. Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh (1964)
  30. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke (1968)
  31. Slaugherhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut (1969)
  32. Wallflower at the Orgy, Nora Ephron (1970)
  33. Crazy Salad & Scribble, Scribble, Nora Ephron (1975 & 1978)
  34. Interview With The Vampire, Anne Rice (1976)
  35. Neither Here Nor There, Bill Bryson (1991)
  36. The Patron Saint of Liars, Ann Patchett (1992)
  37. Bird By Bird, Anne Lamott (1994)
  38. The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman (1995)
  39. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, Helene Hanff (1973)
  40. Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
  41. White Teeth, Zadie Smith (2000)
  42. Stiff, Mary Roach (2003)
  43. The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls (2005)
  44. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (2005)
  45. My Life in France, Julia Child (2006)
  46. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie (2007)
  47. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling (2007)
  48. Somewhere Towards the End, Diana Athill (2008)
  49. Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niffenegger (2009)
  50. That Thing Around Your Neck, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2009)
  51. Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer (2009)
  52. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot (2010)
  53. Just Kids, Patti Smith (2010)
  54. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern (2011)
  55. The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King (2012)
  56. Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo (2012)
  57. Wild, Cheryl Strayed (2012)
  58. The Emperor of All Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee (2012)
  59. Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell (2012)
  60. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt (2013)
  61. I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai (2013)
  62. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Ann Patchett (2013)
  63. Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013)
  64. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Chris Hadfield (2013)
  65. The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer (2013)
  66. A House in the Sky, Amanda Lindhout (2013)
  67. Tenth of December, George Saunders (2013)
  68. The Orenda, Joseph Boyden (2013)
  69. Medicine Walk, Richard Wagamese (2014)
  70. Being Mortal, Atul Gawade (2014)
  71. My Life on the Road, Gloria Steinem (2015)
  72. Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee (2015)
  73. A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara (2015)
  74. When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi (2016)
  75. Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, Ruth Franklin (2016)

And that is it for me! Hope you’ve all been doing (and reading) well!

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4 thoughts on “Back to the Books

  1. “My interest in books is as voracious as always, but my consumption of them is not.” <– This is where I live right now too! I've been driving to work and missing out on that reading time and the state of my life right now, time for reading (let alone FOCUS for it) is in short supply. It makes me feel all kinds of discombobulated – this thing that I love isn't working for me right now.
    Your list is excellent! SO many great books that I'm totally excited for you to read!

    Glad you renewed your domain! ;)

  2. This makes me so happy :D

    First, because I’m glad at least one person found the Another 100 Books tab on my site (LOL), and second, that it inspired you to do something similar. I’m just about to start reading my first book from the list (still don’t know which one). I’m sure it’ll take me forever to finish (if I ever do!).

    We’ve a bunch of the same books, so if you ever want to read ’em at the same time so we can compare notes, I’m all for it.

    LOVE that you picked The Orenda. Holy hell that’s an incredible book.

    And LOVE LOVE LOVE that you’re still going with the blog. When I started reading this I thought it was everyone’s inevitable “I can’t do this anymore” post and I was bummed. But thankfully that’s not it! Glad that you were able to take a break and come back :)

  3. This is a good idea for prioritizing the books I have on my shelf. I wouldn’t be surprised if I own a bunch that I won’t ever read. But I keep them… Just in case…
    Glad to hear you’re not going anywhere. :)

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