Reading List

I’m enchanted by Project “Filling In The Gaps” over at Moonrat’s blog and I’m totally impressed by people who can decide in advance which one hundred books they will read over the next five years as a gap filling project. As if, at one hundred books in a measly five years, I will have any gaps! But, no risk, no fun as my best friend says so I have mustered my courage and declare myself “in” - but with heavily edited, (ahem. as in nearly totally re-written) rules. Most of the books on the list today are ones that have been sitting in my bookshelves staring at me, sometimes for years. They have been dusted, they should be read. I will mark them with a * to make sure I remember which were originally among the chosen ones and which latecomers were read first in a desperate desert before my veggies action.

The Rules

First Rule #1: Because I am so afraid of failing, that I can’t bear to start without having already started, I hereby roll the dates around a bit from 1 January, 2009 to 1 December 2014. Ok, that’s dumb. I know it is; fudging in four months like that. Courage, right? Hmmm.

Second Rule #1: Because it’s my last and only chance to improve my grammar without actually studying the rules (let’s avoid that, why don’t we?), I need to read more German. At least 10% will be books with either original language German, or German translations of some other language I can’t read (French, anyone?).

Third Rule #1: I’ll write and post a review for each book I read. Gulp.

The Rest of the Rules

Rule #2: Because I am a writing writer, and I am writing a novel, and (new) writers writing novels should be reading novels recently published by new writers, at least 15% will be post-2005 debut novels.

Rule #3: Because I am a writer, and there are other writers I cannot bear to think of breathing in and out again, five long years without reading anything they have written, I’ll take 30 previously unread novels by previously read authors.

Rule #4: Because I am a writer and I am writing a novel, and all work and no play makes for dull mauses I will read 10% short story collections, and 5% poetry collections in their entirety. That sounds serious doesn’t it? Well, lacking in a collection, I reserve the right to choose 10-15 stories by a writer and read those. This applies to V.S. Pritchett

Rule #5: Because there are a multitude of authors I have never read, 30% of my list will attempt to whittle down that list a bit.

Rule #6: Because I am unable to even consider choosing all these books now, this moment, I will leave spaces for additions.

Rule #7: Because of the empty spaces on the list, made necessary by my ongoing inability to see into the future, or to make up my mind, I am allowed to move a book from one category to another as long as the move represents the truth. For instance: Isabel Allende’s The House Of Spirits - I have not read any Isabel Allende, and therefore she is a Previously Unread Author, The House of Spirits is her debut… (She remains a PUA for me because 1984 (when The House of Spirits was published) is clearly outside the realm of “recent debut” as is stipulated in Rule #2.) But - if it were published after 2005, I would be allowed to move it if the going gets tough, and I find - years from today that I have too many PUA’s. Ok?


And Finally, the Final Rule

Because I have made all these rules, and twisted the odds, left doors and windows standing wide open and generally done everything in my power today to ensure my own success in this venture, I must be fair and reduce the dropout rate from 25% to 5%. No more than 5 books will be left tried and unfinished by midnight 31 December, 2014.

The Books

30 Authors Previously Read

  1. I Am The Messenger * - Markus Zusak My Review Author Information Goodreads
  2. A Long Way Down * - Nick Hornby No review yet //
  3. The House of Spirits * - Isabel Allende No review yet //
  4. The Ground Beneath Her Feet * - Salman Rushdie
  5. Far From The Madding Crowd * - Thomas Hardy
  6. Alias Grace * - Margret Atwood
  7. The End of the Affair * - Graham Greene
  8. The Hotel New Hampshire * - John Irving No review yet //
  9. The Brothers Karamazov * - Fydor Dostoyevsky
  10. The Pickwick Papers * - Charles Dickens
  11. A Handfull of Dust * - Evelyn Waugh
  12. 1x * - Haruki Murakami
  13. 1x * - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  14. 1x * - Richard Russo
  15. Divisadero - Michael Ondaatje
  16. 1x Iris Murdoch
  17. True Notebooks - Mark Salzman
  18. Rum Diary - Hunter S. Thompson
  19. Villa Incognito - Tom Robbins No review yet //
  20. The Children’s Book - A.S. Byatt No review yet //
  21. Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace
  22. The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger No review yet //
  23. Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name - Vendela Vida My Review Author Information Goodreads
  24. Deep Dish - Mary Kay Andrews My Review Author Information Goodreads
  25. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold No review yet //

10 Short Story Collections

  1. 10 Short Stories * - V.S. Pritchett
  2. The Stories of John Cheever * - John Cheever
  3. Collected Short Stories * - Graham Greene
  4. A Belfast Woman * - Mary Beckett
  5. The Lost Stories * - Louisa May Alcott
  6. Heat * - Joyce Carol Oates
  7. Interpreter of Maladies * - Jhumpa Lahiri
  8. St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves * - Karen Russell
  9. Difficult Loves * - Italo Calvino

15 Debut Novels

  1. The Girl She Used to Be * - David Christifano
  2. The Jewel of Medina * - Sherry Jones
  3. The Spanish Bow - Andromeda Romano-Lax No review yet // Book website Goodreads
  4. The Crash of Hennington - Patrick Ness
  5. The Twelve - Stuart Neville
  6. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen * - Paul Torday My Review Book website Goodreads

5 Poetry Collections

  1. Collected Poems * - Wendall Berry
  2. The Book of Longing * - Leonard Cohen
  3. Liebesgedichte * - Erich Fried

30 Novels - Never-Before-Read Authors

  1. 1x * - Philip Roth
  2. Beauty and Sadness * - Yasunari Kawabata
  3. The Brief and Wonderful Life of Oscar Wao * - Junot Diaz No review yet // Author’s website Goodreads
  4. An American Dream * - Norman Mailer
  5. On Beauty * - Zadie Smith No review yet // Goodreads
  6. The Hive * - Camilo Jose Cela
  7. The Republic of Wine * - Mo Yan
  8. Lolita * - Vladimir Nabukov
  9. The Orange Tree * - Carlos Fuentes
  10. The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love * - Oscar Hijuelos
  11. The Velvet Bubble * - Alice Winter
  12. The House of Seven Gables * - Nathaniel Hawthorne
  13. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian * - Marina Lewycka No review yet // Author’s website Goodreads
  14. The Vatican Cellars * - Andre Gide
  15. Water Music * - T.C. Boyle Read: Dec. 2009 (This is his debut novel)
    My Review Goodreads
  16. Mason & Dixon * - Thomas Pynchon
  17. The God of Small Things * - Arundhati Roy
  18. The Labyrinth of Solitude * - Octavio Paz
  19. The Bostonians * - Henry James
  20. Accordion Crimes * - Annie Proulx
  21. Soul Mountain * - Gao Xingjian
  22. One Hot Summer in St. Petersburg * - Duncan Fallowell
  23. 1x * - Michael Chabon (because he is, after all Moonrat’s secret boyfriend)
  24. The Flying Troutmans - Miriam Toews Recommending review
  25. 1x Ian McEwan
  26. Arsene Lupin - Maurice Leblanc No review yet // Project Gutenberg
  27. The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon - Tom Spanbauer Read: Jan, 2010 //
    My Review Book Website Author Site Goodreads
  28. Everything Beautiful Began After - Simon Van Booy Added: 25 December, 2011
    Recommended by: Lydia Sharp at Book Book
  29. The Wettest County in the World Read: June, 2012 //
    My Review Author Site Goodreads

10 Roman (auf Deutsch)

  1. Mieses Karma * David Safir (Original: Deutsch) English Title: Bad Karma
    My Review Goodreads
  2. wie der Soldat das Gramaphone repariert * Sasa Stanisic (Original: Deutsch ) English Title: How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone
  3. Die Insel der Linkshänder * Alexandre Jardin (Original: French) English Title: as yet untranslated French Title: L’Ile des Gauchers
    No review yet //
  4. Der Vorleser Bernhard Schlink (Original: Deutsch) English Title: The Reader
  5. Maria, Ihm schmeck’s nicht * Jan Weiler (Original: Deutsch) English Title: as yet untranslated
  6. Die 13 1/2 Leben des Kapt’n Blaubär* Walter Moers (Original: Deutsch) English Title: The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear
  7. Das Parfum* - Die Geschichte eines Mörders Patrick Süskind English Title: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
  8. Katz und Maus* Günter Grass English Title: Cat and Mouse
  9. Irisches Tagebuch* Heinrich Böll (Original: Deutsch) English Title: Irish Journal