If there’s ever been a constant in my life, it’s been books. My grandparents had a massive library and my mother and grandmother regularly took me to the library. I remember the day I was finally old enough to get my own library card. It was exciting, particularly for such a shy and nerdy kid.
Right now I’m participating in the most effective book group I have ever been a part of. Usually these things disintegrate. Most of us who like books also like particular genres and deciding on what to read next is always a problem. This book group managed all of Vonnegut’s novels and is currently moving through Hemingway’s. This group has two members and that may be a part of our success. We are up to The Green Hills of Africa and To Have and Have Not.
Because our reading has gone well, it’s been as enjoyable to plan the upcoming reads. So far, this is what we have:
After Hemingway, we will read notable 21st Century novels that we have missed:
American Gods: Neil Gaiman (2001)
Oryx and Crake: Margaret Atwood (2003)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime: Mark Haddon (2003)
No Country For Old Men: Cormac McCarthy (2005)
Kafka on the Shore: Haruki Murakami (2005)
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell: Suzannah Clarke (2005)
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao: Junot Diaz (2007)
The Book Thief: Markus Zusak (2007)
Asterios Polyp: David Mazzuchelli (2009)
Telegraph Avenue: Michael Chabon (2012)
Following this we are going to read five short story/essay collections of the 21st Century, as well. We know that one of the books will be Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace, but we are currently in negotiations on the other titles.
After that the five novels of Fitzgerald, maybe some of his short fiction, and then Faulkner.
I just read a friend’s book that I was reluctant to read because I didn’t want to not like it. My fears were silly. It’s an excellent book. I highly recommend The Evolution of Shadows by Jason Quinn Malott.
I recently wrote an essay on Where the Sidewalk Ends for John King’s podcast The Drunken Odyssey. I was very happy to be a part of Mr. King’s show since I listen to it every week. It will give those interested an inside view to what “the writing life” means for most folks out there practicing the wordly craft.
Oh, and this fond memory: