I tend to read books in parallel. I read fairly quickly, but since I read what I want, typically on whims or on sight, I don't always finish what I start unless I'm engrossed. For 2014, I'd like to make a reading plan. I won't eschew my predilection for reading in parallel, because I do believe that exposure to a mix of ideas keeps the mind fresh. Therefore, I'm thinking of my reading in chunks.
I've made a list of books that I want to tackle in 2014. Here it is! I've distributed them so that each cluster is anchored by one long fiction book, and may include short fiction, 'self-help', philosophy and thought, and non-fiction. For the classics, I've included links to specific translations that I would like to read. I've also left room for a few fun books or whims as they arrive throughout the year. If you're reading or have read any of these, I'd love to talk about them with you!
Brothers Karamazov - Long fiction
This husband and wife translation team is spectacular. I have read their Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, and Madame Bovary editions and I love the fluid, modern turn of phrase they bring to the classics.
Levels of Life - Short fiction
Julian Barnes's most recent book. It's a short one. I read his A Sense of an Ending last year. I found his prose delicate, and the premise of his story simultaneously satisfying and unsatisfying. I found myself recommending the book to everyone I know, so I'd like to see what he has in store for us here.
Empire State of Mind - Non-fiction
I'm fascinated by Jay Z. The music, the mogul.
Why Does the World Exist - Non-fiction
I've often struggled with reconciling the metaphysical and spiritual with the scientific. I think the answer is a blend, that science can support spirituality, and that there is something that connects us in this world that is beyond the scope of our reality.
Bossypants (Audio) - Non-fiction
Tina Fey narrates this.
Passionate Marriage - Self-help
A friend recently told me that married couples tend to become unattracted to one another. Someone recommended this book last year and I have to finish it. It yields fascinating insights and has an approach to relationships that I agree with.
A Path with Heart - Self-help
Mediation for Beginners - Self-help
Infinite Jest - Long fiction
Blood Meridian - Short fiction
I recently heard Cormac McCarthy described as the Faulkner of our generation. That's a pretty tall order. This is considered his masterpiece so I'll start here.
Decoded - Non-fiction
I thought it would be interesting to read this alongside Titan below.
Titan - Non-fiction
The Mismeasure of Man - Non-fiction
After the Ecstasy, the Laundry - Self-help
The Five Love Languages - Self-help
A friend recommended this book. It's about how we have different ways of expressing love.
War and Peace - Long fiction
My favorite translation team.
White Teeth - Short fiction
I haven't read Zadie Smith before, so I'm including two books here.
NW - Short fiction
The Compass of Pleasure - Non-fiction
Cosmos - Non-fiction
I watched the movie Contact and it made a strong impact on me. I often say that my beliefs on religion and extraterrestrial life are somewhere in this movie. I want to read more Sagan.
Religion for Atheists - Philosophy
This could be combined philosophy and self-help. I'm always wondering how to incorporate some of the practices of religion into life without 'believing everything'.
Les Miserables - Long fiction
I saw this musical in 1988, 2006, and 2012. I cried when I saw it in fourth grade. I attempted the book as a child in middle school, but found it difficult reading. This translation is modern and I think will be engaging.
A Mercy - Short fiction
I've read every Toni Morrison book but her last two. I'm also liking the idea of grouping short fiction into pairs of books by a single author, so I'm reading this with Home below.
Home - Short fiction
The Selfish Gene - Non-fiction
A Lover's Discourse - Philosophy
1Q84 - Long Fiction
Eating Animals - Non-fiction
This book was given to me by a passionate vegan friend. I've read it in parts, as I find it difficult reading. I've often contemplated the yogic notion of 'Ahimsa', non-harming. Sometimes I think if I were a better person, I would be a vegetarian. I think as a society we will get there eventually. Meanwhile, let's begin the conversation.
I'm hoping a good long fiction book will come out!