Sunday, December 30, 2012

My 2013 Book List

Somehow, amazingly, last year I was able to read all the books I put on my list for the year! No one joined me in reading any of them. Some of them I loved, some of them I struggled through, some of them I returned to the library without finishing because they really didn't capture my attention. Some of them moved me to seek out more from an author I had discovered.
I went to a Christmas party last weekend and saw my old friend, Jen, who I used to go to book club with. She isn't going anymore either. And she misses book discussions. She suggested that we try to read some books together this year. I'm up for that!
I just got a Kindle Fire for Christmas from my husband! Totally unexpected, that, and totally awesome. I already have about 15 books on there that I want to read, but I decided I would put together another book list like the one that kept me going for 2012. And maybe I will get Jen in on the act this time, because I do love sharing a good book with someone!

~ January ~
Rabbit, Run by John Updike

I read Updike's Brazil about 4 or 5 years ago and was enthralled. Then I learned that it is one of his least popular novels. No one reads Brazil, evidently. With Updike it's all about the Rabbit series. So I've looked and looked for Rabbit, Run at the library and never find a copy - or at least never one available. So when I got my kindle it was one of the first books I sought out. But I didn't want to spend my $25 gift card just yet. And then my brother sent me a list of the books he has on his kindle already. The entire Rabbit series was there at my fingertips for free. Yay! I know that this one is going to be pretty explicit. Probably not the one I'll be asking Jen to join me on. Honestly, I will probably read the whole series now that I have them, but the goal for January is just the first one.

~ February ~
Godric by Frederick Buechner

I don't know why I've never heard of this guy before. Christian pastor and novelist? Several popular devotion books as well as a great number of novels, books of sermons etc.? I read a quote by him on twitter that moved me deeply. "Laugh till you weep. Weep till there's nothing left but to laugh at your weeping. In the end it's all one." This describes me to a T. And maybe it describes all of us. Anyway, I downloaded a sample of his devotion book "Listening to Your Life" and I think I'm going to buy it. But I thought one of his novels might be just the thing to read with Jennifer. This one, Godric, is about a real 17th century saint.

~ March ~
Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut

I've never read anything by Vonnegut. And for some reason - and I honestly don't know why, since I have no idea what to expect from his writing - I have a serious aversion to him and even a contempt for people who rave about him. Now why is that? When I get to feeling that way, I think I need to see what it is all about. Sometimes I find out my instinct was right, but once in a while, I am in for something entirely unexpected. Vonnegut seems to be every guy's fave author. Indeed, he is often the ONLY author a guy has ever read. Maybe that is the aversion. Will it be utterly masculine and chauvinistic? Will it just be gruesome and appalling (after all, what is that title about?)? I aim to find out. Broadening the horizons. Anyone feel led to stop me?

~ April ~
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

It's sort of an obvious choice for a Middle East buff like myself. In fact, several people have asked me if I've read it or suggested that I read it. It really sounds fantastic. But I am hesitant because I thought the same thing about Once On a Moonless Night by Dai Sijie, and I couldn't get into that book at all. (I didn't give it a very good chance. I quit very early. I loved his other book, Balzak and the Little Chinese Seamstress) It was a book with a similar sounding premise - but Asian rather than Middle Eastern. And lets face it, a book's interest lies less in the subject than in the ability of the writer to capture one's attention. Whatever, I'm looking forward to it.

~ May ~
Wouldn't Take Nothing For My Journey Now by Maya Angelou

This woman. THIS. WOMAN. There is not enough that can be said about her. I love Maya Angelou. I just saw as I did the image search that this is available in audiobook with Dr. Angelou herself reading it. Now THAT would be the way to experience this book. I may look for that when May rolls around. Or I may need to savor the written words on the page. I can't wait for this one.

~ June ~
Despair by Vladimir Nabakov

I have a love/hate relationship with Russian literature. I don't ever know what to expect or how to feel when its all over! Anna Karenina made me want to throw myself in front of a train! No, it made me want to throw Tolstoy in front of a train. But Crime and Punishment was one of my favorite books as a teenager. I read it three times! Imagine! I guess its unfair to glom all Russian writers into one genre - really? Can you imagine doing that with American literature? Just because they all hail from the same CONTINENT, doesn't mean they will necessarily be anything alike. I actually enjoyed Lolita, the only thing by Nabakov I've ever read. I hated the old movie, of course, but reading it was entertaining.

~ July ~
The Art of War by Sun Tzu

I may be crazy for thinking this book might have something to offer me. I have known many people to be very inspired in the way they live their life by this book. I have been told by people all my life that I am a door mat, too easy going, way too patient. I know I have put up with a lot. I like to think I just choose my battles carefully. But it has been recently suggested that I avoid conflict at all costs. And I'm starting to see it. A really good book I read this year on this topic was The One Life Solution by Henry Cloud. But I think one can gain insight from more than one source. So, Sun Tzu will now have his chance.

~ August ~
Diary by Chuck Palahniuk

He's hip, he's cool. He's Chuck Palahniuk. He wrote Fight Club. What more do I know about him? Nothing. But I want to read what he writes. I bet Fight Club was a million times better than the movie. But now that I saw the movie I don't really care to read it. Because unfortunately, I will be picturing Brad Pitt (gag me with a spoon) as Tyler Durden through the whole thing and it will ruin it for me. So I will begin my sojourn into Palahniuk's world with Diary instead. I am anticipating a new fave author.

~ September ~
Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving

Just in case Palahniuk doesn't end up being a new favorite author, and in case I need to wash that taste out of my mouth with something I KNOW I will love - my real favorite author, John Irving, always has more books out there for me to read, and never fails to expand my heart in many ways. 

~ October ~
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Then it seems only right, since I was introduced to John Irving by my darling BFF, Kristi, to enjoy a book by her current favortie author, David Sedaris. I haven't a clue which one to start with, so I will start with the one I've heard of. Also, it sounds like the most autobiographical one in his repertoire, and I usually enjoy that (Except in the case of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, which I frickin hated.)

~ November ~
Lotus Buds by Amy Charmichael

I think by this point I will be in dire need once again of some uplifting reading to add to my spiritual vacuity. Amy Carmichael's story is so stunning and beautiful to me. This book, which is offered for free through Kindle and Gutenberg Project, is written expressly for lovers of children. That ought to warm my heart up in the chilly fall.

~ December ~
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

I think what this list is quite obviously lacking is corsets and petticoats. Perfect for December. Besides, this is one of Fannie Flagg's top 5 books! How could I neglect to read it?

Well, that does it. I have my reading cut out for me. I'm really looking forward to it! What will YOU be reading in 2013?