books

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!


January.February

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


March.April

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.


May.June

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'. 

July.August

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


September.October

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.


November.December

I'm hoping a good long fiction book will come out!