Tell me what to read…

I graduated Friday, I let my husband pick out my new luggage yesterday and today I a celebrated our anniversary by dusting. Within days I will finish teaching and have the house clean, and then….free time. The hell of a rudderless ship, a runaway train, a life without purpose, a vast expanse of time that is my own with nothing to do and no one to evaluate it – that’s all I have to look forward to.

I have plans: fix blog since Darling Husband “lost” it, knit like mad, get my “to be filed” stuff taken care of, get a job. However, in the meantime I thought I could beg you, my gentle reader, to give me an assignment. I may not finish it, I may not start it, but I will feel hugged knowing that if I do loose my way in the world of intrinsic motivation, I always have you to fall back on.

Here is a list of books that I own, but have not read. I don’t want to buy anymore books until I have made it through these. I have not included books on education, knitting or cooking. Nor are there any of Darling Husband’s books on theoretical and dramatic future or killer microbes or body parts. Everything else is here, pick one. I could even do a book report and then you could grade me so I won’t get DTs.

Remember these are the books that I have not read, but own, so they only say something about the person that I am and am not.

Tell me what to read in a comment. Your choices, in no particular order, are:

  • Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison -hurts to admit I haven’t read this
  • As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner -ditto
  • Little Dorritt, Dickens -the title seems really festive – good holiday read?
  • Tales of Hoffman, Hoffman -no idea why I have this
  • Shirley, Charlotte Bronte -eh
  • The Question of Palestine, Edward Said -Honestly, I bought this book so I could debate a Zionist. I am a jerk. People like that don’t change their minds. And that is a really shallow reason to read a book.
  • Wild Swans, Jung Chang -Recommended by a coworker in The Land of the Lost. Looks depressing, but I trust the guy.
  • The Illustrated Zleika Dobson -pretty pictures
  • Twilight of the Superheroes, Deborah Eisenberg -new short stories. will probably just piss me off
  • The Loved One, Waugh -I think I may have read this, but I can’t remember how it ended, so it’s back on the list
  • Wuthering Heights, Bronte -this would be a reread, I think at 12 a lot of this book went over my head
  • What is English, Elbow -need to read this, been meaning to for a year
  • The Fearie Queen, Spenser -Alfred Bloom claims he can recite this from memory
  • A Handful of Dust, Waugh -Waugh not?
  • Discipline and Punishment, Foucault -should, haven’t
  • The Confidence Man, Melville – best book on my unread list, have struggled with it for five years
  • Secrets of the Flesh, A Life of Collette, Thurman – she wrote a book about Dinesen I really liked, and I have read a ton of Collete, but this book has never quite worked out for me
  • The Ring and the Book, Browning – love Browning in a philistine-y kind of way. This book will give me cred
  • The Man Who Shocked the World, Some Guy – biography on Stanley Milgram, who I love
  • England Made Me, Graham Greene – not sure why I never read this
  • The Power and the Glory, Greene – read it in high school and thought it was “boring.” not reading it so I can continue to pretend I was never that dumb
  • The Awakening, Chopin – I always think of her as another Wharton, and Wharton is a bummer
  • The Border Trilogy, McCarthy – some one told me these were super gory and I figure it’s got to be cow gore because these are about cowboys, and I really like beef so I have kind of put these off until I felt more vegan-y. I saw SuperSizeMe last week, so maybe it’s time
  • The Wings of the Dove – I always think of late James as another Wharton, and Wharton is a bummer
  • My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist, Leyner – Recommended in the Land of the Lost. need to read it.
  • Cruddy, Lynda Barry – started it and it’s totally depressing
  • Sula, Morrison – haven’t read this one, or Jazz, or Love, but I heard Love sucked
  • The Unconsoled – Ishiguro, another Land of the Lost recommendation. They seem to all center around desperation and misery. Very little triumph coming out of Land of the Lost.
  • Bastard Out of Carolina – I always think I will hate books about the South
  • cod, Kurlansky – so totally want to read this. may start it tonight
  • The Remains of the Day, Ishiguro – it was a buck and I liked the movie
  • Doctor Zhivago, Pasternak – my mom gave it to me and I have been meaning to read it, but VN said Pasternak was not so good
  • An Equal Music, Seth – people that bought this book seemed like awesome or awful. no in-between. I was intrigued.
  • Eugene Oegin, Pushkin – feel like a jerk to not having read this
  • Wanderlust, A History of Walking, Scinit – I was really excited about this when I got it
  • Illiad and Odessey, Lombardo translation – again, tons of excitement and never opened the cover
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife, Neffenburger – started it and it was crappy
  • 7 Replies to “Tell me what to read…”

    1. Well, you say The Confidence Man is the the best book on this list and you’ve been working on it for years, so finish it already. Your book report will be due on December 24th.

      Also, I think you need to go through the piles and piles of books in the dining room and bedroom. There will probably be a few more for your list there.

    2. Read Cruddy. It’s a quick read, and it’s really not that depressing; it actually gets pretty hilarious. Well maybe it’s a little depressing. It’s sort of like a Ren & Stimpy cartoon in that it’s funny, but when you take a magnifying glass to it, it’s sort of icky. Read it anyway; it’s really good.

    3. Also, you shouldn’t beat yourself up about not reading some of the books on this list. Several of them are totally overrated. That Time Traveler’s Wife book for instance; everyone kept telling me how great it was. They were wrong. And I hated Dr. Zhivago; it pissed me off for some reason. Ok, so that’s my two cents.

    4. Congrats! Odyssey is a far better modern read than the Illiad. Book for book, I find it’s quite easy to retain focus on both the language and the story.

      Batsard Out of Carolina is a strong book. It’ll make you mad because it wants to at times. Classic 20th Century Americana–deceit, incest, beatings, and overcoming.

      The Fearie Queen is akin to Ulysseys–long, complicated and ever person who wants to be well-read has to suffer it. Not saying it doesn’t have value in itself, but it’s more than surpassed by the ridiculous prestige as a prerequiste to the inner circles of literary academia. Call it an LSAT for English majors. Actually, most of them take the LSAT–so call it the, ah hell, screw the analogy.

      Wuthering Heights is far more interesting now that you can realize what is going on past the Victorian writing. Turning of the Screw is better.

      There’s my 2-cents.

    5. as i lay dying. because i think i am. at least my soul is dying. or could arleady be dead by the time you read this. plus, it’s a real real gud buk. and this one because i like the title My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist.

    6. long-time, no talky talky! eb’s here for winter break, so let’s hang out sometime!

      anyhoo, i second the vote for as i lay dying. depressing, yes, but totally awesome even more. multiple points of view and stuff… and that’s my highly sophisticated analysis. i wrote this really morbid telling of a true story about some mother-less kittens dying in the style of faulkner for my plan ii lit class. whee!

      and congrabulations! you gradjoooated!

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