-Catherine Drinker Bowen
Every year I promise myself I’m going to read a book every week. I’m not rigid on the subject or genre, but I want to try to pull myself away from the TV and blockbuster rentals. Each year I make this promise, each year life gets in the way, I make excuses and I fail.
So, this year, I’ve made a list of the books I want to read. They’ve either been gifts, recommendations or 3 for 2 deals at Waterstone’s that I collected over the years and never got to.
I used to have a habit of wandering into the Waterstone’s on Fleet street when I was a bit down. I would launch myself at the fiction section and flick through the pages of the new hardbacks. I read the back covers of the paperbacks gathering the ones that caught my interested in my arm and replacing the ones that had the misfortune of having a poorly written publisher’s blurb on the back. I read the little cards on the shelves with the staff recommendations and nodded in approval at the ones I agreed with and chuckled to myself at the ones I disagreed with or I felt sounded too much like a book report.
This was my mini-break. I spent the whole of my lunch hour wandering between the shelves and trying to find the appropriate number to full-fill the requirements of the 3 for 2 offer. I inevitably had four in my hands and either had to sacrifice one for another day, or buckle and pick two more. I was their perfect sucker, promotion hound, target audience for whom these promotions were designed.
I’ve finally run out of shelf space in my house. There are officially too many un-read books on my shelf for me to justify buying any more until 2010. So, I’ve made a list of books that I’m determined to read this year (there are a few alternates in case some turn out to be duds).
1. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
2. The Almost Moon – Alice Seabold
3. A Certain Slant of Light – Laura Whitcomb
4. The Road to Avalon – Joan WOlf
5. The Little Friend – Donna Tartt
6. The Land Girls – Angela Huth
7. The Light of Asia – Sir Edwin Arnold
8. Twilight – Stephanie Meyer
9. Anansi Boys – Neil Gaiman
10. Acacia – David Anthony Durham
11. Making Money – Terry Pratchet
12. Fugitive Pieces – Anne Michaels
13. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
14. Tropic of Cancer – Henry Miller
15. The Wings of the Dove – Henry James
16. The Mill on the Floss – George Eliot
17. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner – James Hoggs
18. The Trial – Franz Kafka
19. White Teeth – Zadie Smith
20. Fragile Things – Neil Gaiman
21. The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
22. Natural Selection – Bill Dare
23. Fury – Salem Rushdie
24. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
25. The Photograph – Penelope Lively
26. Heart Shaped Box – Joe Hill
27. The Scandal of the Season – Sophie Gee
28. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
29. The French Lieutenant’s Woman – John Fowles
30. The Magic Mountain – Thomas Mann
31. The History of England
32. Beloved – Toni Morrison
33. Q – Luther Blissett
34. The Seven Pillars of Wisdom – T. E. Lawrence
35. The Queen of Subtleties – Suzannah Dunn
36. Far From the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
37. In the Company of the Courtesan – Sarah Dunant
38. Rope Burns – F.X. Toole
39. Smashed – Koren Zailckas
40. New Moon – Stephanie Meyer
41. Lucky – Alice Seabold
42. Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
43. Intruder in the Dust – William Faulkner
44. Look Homeward, Angel – Thomas Wolfe
45. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
46. Moll Flanders – Daniel Defoe
47. Daniel Deronda – George Eliot
48. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
49. Middlemarch – George Eliot
50. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
51. Human Croquet – Kate Atkinson
52. Sophie’s World – Jostein Gaarder
Right, that’s it. I’m allowing myself three alternates in case a few of them are boring and I need to swap.
Ok, so what’s your 52?
Good luck and happy reading.
Update: I’ll be highlighting them as I go along.
To be nobody but yourself, in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
e. e. cummings –