Wednesday, August 1, 2012

reading is really cool!

a bookstore in west va
i got my college degree in english. i think i originally chose the major because english classes in high school were always my favorites, and they came so easily to me. however, i really, really fell in love with literature during my four years at roanoke college. especially in my senior year, when i was able to really focus on everything i was reading.

one fallback to majoring in english in college was that i had very little free time to read anything of my own choosing. this meant that once i graduated, i was beyond overwhelmed by all of the choices in books that i had. it was like this ridiculous floodgate opened and i had no idea where to start. obviously i want to read everything ever written, so i needed to find a way to do it. ;)

thus began self-induced reading lists. this way, i give myself about ten books at a time to work through, and while i'm reading those, i can mark down anything else that catches my eye during that time, and that'll go on my next list.. and so on and so forth. i'm about to finish up my last book in my most recent list, and i thought i'd post my next one here. they are usually full of things that don't make sense together at all, since there's no rhyme or reason to them.

currently, i'm reading "geek love" by katherine dunn. it's kind of creepy, and not something that i'd normally read.. at all, but amazon kept suggesting it so i finally gave in. sometimes i think amazon knows me better than i know myself. i love carnival themes, and so far this book is beautifully written (and nothing that i expected it to be). so, when i finish "geek love," i'll start something from my new list! besides getting them only from my list, i don't read them in any particular order, i just go with whatever sounds good when i finish a book. this is why i ended up reading "the year of the flood," which is the second book in the maddaddam trilogy, then "the great house" which is kind of like a book of short stories, and THEN "oryx and crake," which is the first book in the maddaddam trilogy. totally weird and out of order, but it worked for me.

here's my new list:

"just kids" by patti smith
i have heard nothing but good things about this book, from all kinds of people. i love biographies and patti smith, but honestly, i just really love reading about friendships. i'm really excited.

"the borrower" by rebecca makkai
this book is on my list solely because at some point, some review compared her to both nabokov ("lolita") AND helen fielding (the bridget jones' diaries series) and that's awesome and weird and i want to see if it's even possible.

"how to be alone: essays" by jonathan franzen
a lot of people really don't like franzen, but i'm not clear on the reasons why, so i'm interested to see how i feel about him once i read something of his. i like essays (i read a couple by joan didion this month and now i'm a little obsessed), so this'll be a nice break from all of the novels.

this sounds a little bit like a soap opera (or at least just a little bit dramatic), and sometimes i just want to read a soap opera, ok!?

"so big" by edna ferber
honestly, i've been wanting to read this book for so long that i can't even remember my original reasons. and i haven't picked it up yet, because it isn't available on kindle (i KNOW, but it's so so so easy to just rent an ebook from my bed).. i'd really like to get out to the library anyway, to look for more books to add to lists later. amazon tells me that this book remains current, because it deals with issues like poverty, sexism, and the want for success in a way that resonates with modern readers. sounds good.

"the stranger" by albert camus
mostly i'm just angry that i never came across this book in my 17 years of schooling. it's about time i read it.

"a confederacy of dunces" by john kennedy toole
see above. ugh.

"an american tragedy" by theodore dreiser
when i was way too young, probably middle school sometime, i attempted to read this book and gave up due to the fact that it was literally one thousand pages long (not literally). i saw it on one of the rory gilmore reading lists, and my interest was renewed. plus, kindles don't tell you page numbers - they give you a percentage of the book read, which makes it way harder to be discouraged. :)

really, the title says it all. ;) austin just finished this book about a month ago, and was super into it. i'm not usually interested in historical literature, but apparently this story is DRAMATIC, so i'm probably going to love it, haha.

there are a few reeeaally long ones in this list, so i'm curious as to how long finishing them is going to take me! we'll see.

what are you reading right now (i really want to know!!) ?! <3

ps, i found this a long time ago and i come back to it quite often when i can't figure out where to even start to find a book to read. start with a general mindset, choose an author, and go from there. it works! :)
pps, i REALLY want this book to be made, because i really want to own it and use it. i began the long trek into margaret atwood's work totally unaided a couple of years ago, and i know something like this would've helped. i'm going to donate when i get paid on friday, would you consider a donation, as well?
ppps, i spent about 2 hours tonight putting the finishing touches on my "everyone must read these before they die" list, and blogger ate it. no drafts, no nothing saved. needless to say, i'm a little bitter and that list probably isn't coming for a long, long time. just know that i have a list! i just have to retype all of my reasons and babbles. i could talk about books for a lifetime.


  1. ooohhh! i really love this post... i NEED to start reading again. ever since the blog world became such a giant part of my life, i've kind of abandoned actual books and i absolutely hate it! maybe ill read geek love too (the title is intriguing) and we can discuss?!

    1. i would LOVE that!! definitely read into what it's about first, though.. cause it's creepy, haha. but seriously if you decide to, a little book discussion would make my life. :)

  2. Brain. Going. To. Explode. After. Reading. About. Reading. Second. Book. In. Trilogy. Before. First.

    P.S. You should bump "The Stranger" up to the top of your list. Mostly because I had just started it this morning (crazy right?).

    1. haha, it didn't really affect anything.. the books run parallel to each other, and i'm actually not sure that i would've ever read the second if i had read the first first (if that makes sense). she's writing the third right now. i think you'd really like them, actually. have you read any margaret atwood before?

      wait that IS crazy. i'll start that one when i finish geek love. :) only if you promise to discuss it at length with me when you come home next!

    2. What I'm going to say: I could maybe sorta kinda potentially posit a world where reading the second one could you make you more excited. On that, you've inspired me to hand a copy of the Deathly Hallows to someone :p (And I haven't read Atwood before, though I've definitely heard the name before).

      What I'm actually thinking: Brain. Going. To. Explode. After. Reading. Justification. For. Reading. Second. Book. In. Trilogy. Before. First.

      P.S. We have a deal. Though, does this mean I have to say "Al-bear Cah-Moo" each time in front of you? I'll be in Roanoke after all... ;)

      P.P.S. I just realized something important: I'm about halfway through the translation by Matthew Ward, so 1) I forgot that's an issue with foreign books. 2) I'm not switching.

  3. this is wonderful. i love the sign and this is a great list of books. not enough people read enough great literature, and there's so much to enjoy. You'll LOVE "The Confederacy of Dunces"

  4. ah, the Stranger! such a great book!!

  5. Yay, it's so exciting to find other people who love books as much as I do! I read Just Kids a few months ago and loved it.

    Two more books to read if you haven't already: The Bell Jar and Valley of the Dolls :)

    1. i'm so excited about just kids. it was secretly my number one choice, even though a friend has convinced me to read the stranger first. :)

      i read those in high school! i would like to revisit both, actually.. mostly because i think the bell jar may require more attention than i originally gave it, and valley of the dolls is the definition of a soap opera in a book, haha.


  6. This is a great post. I love books, they have always been one of my greatest passions, and I have been thinking recently about starting a seperate book blog perhaps...I'd love to do an online book club type thing! My book pile is miles high at the moment and I'm currently switching between A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith and Homer and Langley by EL Doctorow. By the way, I actually quite liked The Corrections!

    1. i LOVED a tree grows in brooklyn! and i'm super envious that you can read two books at once! i'd love the ability.. :) <3