Becca Reads


The List

I keep a list of the books I want to read in the back of my datebook (I still buy a datebook every year--and it's time to get one, because the tiny lines for each day of next year are getting crowded--and inn the back of the book I rewrite, every year, my phone numbers, and everyone's social security number--I know, I shouldn't--and an updated version of the list.)

The list includes books people tell me about, books I see reviewed or read articles about or glance at on the table at the bookstore, books I hear about in conversation.  Sometimes I write down the title, but sometimes just the author, and then later I look at the name and wonder who on earth it is.

The problem is: I keep the list, but I rarely refer to it.  I get sucked in by the new books shelf, or someone gives me a book, or I pick up a book at someone else's house.  So the list gets longer, and rarely shorter.

Here's the 2006 version, exactly as it looks in the back of the datebook (crossed-off books are, obviously, the ones I've read [uh, nope, I actually have no idea how to cross things out in Blogger--I thought it would be obvious, as everyone seems to do it, but it's not, so let's just go with asterisks for the ones I've read, or abandoned, which is in fact more visually accurate, as on the list itself I just make a dash at the beginning of the item, kind of ticking it off, rather than crossing it off]):

Laura Waterman, Losing the Garden
Donald Hall, The Best Day The Worst Day
Housekeeping [I know, isn't it scandalous?!]
* Wesley Stace, Misfortune [abandoned]
*Ruth Reichl [this was Garlic and Sapphires]
*Ian McEwan, Saturday
Andrea Levy, Small Island [I have taken this one out of the library many times, to no avail]
Christine Schutt
Lydia Davis [I wrote "short stories" by these two]
Patrick Hamilton [???]
Alice Mattison
*Jude Morgan, Passion [abandoned]
Lily King, The English Teacher
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document [got this one from the library yesterday]
*Jay McInerney [read a few pages at the bookstore--yuck]
Poppy Z. Brite
Octavia Butler
*Steve Almond
Deborah Eisenberg
Mary Gaitskill, Veronica [sitting on my desk since August]
Sarah Gran, Dope
I Capture the Castle [I know, I KNOW]
Megan McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts, etc. [I'm pretty sure I'll never read this one]
*Justine Picardie, My Mother's Wedding Dress [referenced here]
*Michael Walker, Laurel Canyon [abandoned and blogged]
*Shari Goldhagen, Family and Other Accidents
Lee Server, Ava Gardner
Edward P. Jones
Michael Patrick MacDonald, All Souls [I'm working on it]
Naomi Alderman, Disobedience
Alan Moore, Lost Girls
Elizabeth Frank, Cheat and Charmer [got it from the library]
Mark Haddon, A Spot of Bother
Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog...
Rodrigo Fresan, Kensington Gardens
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Jim Crace
The Plot Against America
Cancer Vixen
*Alison Bechdel, memoir


  • I recommend getting any of the Lydia Davis short story collections (_Samuel Johnson is (indignant?)_ is one). I find reading her deeply addictive. I hate the term "prose poetry" - but I'd say that many of these pieces are investigations of a single moment, a mood, an encounter, or an exchange in a long term relationship. Because most of them are quite short (like under a page), you can read one at odd moments - like at the stop light or in the bathroom - and then go about your business infected by it (but in a good way).

    Read Lily King's _The English Teacher_: liked it, finished it, but not in love with it.

    By Blogger postacademic, at 8:35 PM  

  • I love "Samuel Johnson is Indignant," work of total genius. BUT as a great lover of light reading I am now going to sort out the items for you which you personally must most immediately read for sheer enjoyment as opposed to more general edification:

    YOU HAVE TO READ PZB's Liquor books! With the whole chef thing, you will find them irresistible and delightful. Liquor, Prime, Soul Kitchen. Perfect light reading, get them and read them the next time you have a cold or are otherwise feeling under the weather and they will make you happy.

    Ditto "I Capture the Castle." Just get it. Just read it. You will see, M. will be ready for it in another year or two even...

    And the one other that I think you must have sooner rather than later is Edward P. Jones, "All Aunt Hagar's Children." This isn't exactly light reading, but it is absolutely mesmerizing, and it is ridiculous to me that it wasn't on the NYT so-called "best books" list. (It was a perfectly reasonable list, don't get me wrong, but the absurdity of calling it "best" instead of just "editors' picks" or whatever made me roll my eyes...) Have someone get it for you for Xmas if you can't get it at the library.

    By Blogger Jenny Davidson, at 10:50 AM  

  • Debby Eisenberg is amazing. I´m an authority on the matter, becuase she´s my aunt! I brag about it wherever I go. Read "some other better otto " first. It will blow you away.

    Gaitskill-- I guess you mean Veronica. it was good, but I like her stories better. Bad Behavior is one of my favorite books.

    By Blogger dysphoric, at 8:39 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home