Thursday, January 20, 2011

Life List? Egads!

I wholeheartedly come from the Decide-in-the-Moment school of what to read next. I really hate being told what to read, I have trouble with book club selections, and I just read a book I bought in 1996 (OMG that's 15 years ago!) While I adore lists of books, it's always been in order to see what I can check off right now, not at all as a list for what to read next. Years ago when the 1001 Books to Read Before you Die book came out, I poured over the lists and checked off and argued and yelled (mostly by myself, sadly). And then, in a snit, I made up my own list of books that ought to be on the list. And then promptly ignored it. I kind of figure that if they're that important to me, I'll get around to them.

Last week I was listening to an episode of Books on the Nightstand, and Ann talked about adding a book to her life list. And that phrase - "life list" shocked me. A life list sounds more like a To Do list. Not just a list that I occasionally check things off of if I happen to pick them up in the regular course of deciding what to read next. It may seem funny, but this is a concept I never actually considered. And while I really, really like my current method of choosing, maybe I really should consider this. I did manage to read 3 books from the 1001 list last year without it, but maybe I should come up with a short list of books that I plan to read this year. After all, I could easily get to the end of my life and not have conquered large parts of my list if I don't make an effort.

So this year, I am putting 6 books (one every other month) on my to read list. And I plan to read them all in 2011. Here they are:

  • Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This one is technically a reread, but I haven't read it since I was a little kid (unlike the other Little House books). I have been avoiding it, and I think I shouldn't.
  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. He is my best friend's favorite author and until just now reading Books, I had never read him before. I understand this is his best.
  • A Dickens. My mother has started getting me a set of antique leatherbound Dickens novels, who I haven't read since college. I think when I'm not forced to read them, they might be much improved. The choices are: Little Dorrit, Dombey and Sons, Martin Chuzzlewit, Barnaby Rudge, or Sketches by Boz.
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. This was a gift from my advisor when I graduated from college. In 1995. I loaned it to my best friend many months ago after her book club read Never Let Me Go. I may have to recall that loan.
  • Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. My boyfriend's favorite book that he's been bugging me to read since our first date.
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. I watched this movie a few months ago, and it was riveting. I think this is a pretty cool classic and it's on my 1001 list.

Wish me luck. Anyone have any suggestions for which Dickens I should read?


Jeane said...

I have not had much luck with Dickens myself, so I can't recommend any. But Guns, Germs and Steel was a fantastic read, very interesting. And I'm curious to read Lonesome Dove myself someday here.

Rebecca Chapman said...

I haven't had any luck with Dickens either - he is a little bit on the boring side if you ask me. I would like to read Oliver Twist one day though