Sunday, February 13, 2005

50 Books I Need to Finish This Year

During good weeks, I can get through 2-3 books a week on the train. Unfortunately, I've been spending most of my train time lately listening to music and staring off into space. Like my writing, my reading has been suffering.

It's time to get back on track.

In preparation for my trip, I've compiled a quick list of the 50 books I either need to start reading or need to finish reading this year, roughly in this order (an asterik denotes those books I'm currently in the middle of reading):

1. Romance of the Three Kingdoms(volume 1 of 2)*
2. Shriek by Jeff VanderMeer
3. The Male Body by Susan Bordo*
4. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel by Susanna Clarke
5. The Persian Boy by Mary Renault*
6. Love by Toni Morrison*
7. Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Nasland*
8. War in the Shadows: the Guerilla in History by Robert B. Asprey (in fact, I need to buy this book - I'm accuring a lot of library fees for it)*
9. Orlando by Virginia Woolf*
10. Dreaming by the Book by Elaine Scarry*
11. Secret Life by Jeff VanderMeer
12. Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brien
13. Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
14. Golden States by Michael Cunningham
15. The Histories by Herodotus
16. The Insult by Rupert Thomson
17. Tess of the D'Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy*
18. The Boundaries of Her Body: The Troubling History of Women's Rights in America by Debran Rowland
19. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler*
20. The Trumps of Doom by Roger Zelazny
21. Blood of Amber by Roger Zelazny
22. Sign of Chaos by Roger Zelazny
23. Rats and Gargoyles by Mary Gentle
24. On War by Carl Von Clausewitz
25. Gloriana by Michael Moorcock
26. Half the Day is Night by Maureen McHugh
27. The Art of Memory by Frances A. Yates
28. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
29. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber*
30. Iron Council by China Mieville
31. Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews by James Carroll
32. Oriental Mythology by Joseph Campbell
33. Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
34. Natural History by Justina Robson
35. A Harlot High and Low by Honore de Balzac
36. Lost Illusions by Honore de Balzac
37. Homosexuality and Civilization by Louis Crompton*
38. Fool's Errand by Robin Hobb
39. Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson (must... fight... through... it)
40. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
41. A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis by David M. Friedman
42. Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation by Thomas W. Laqueur*
43. Bloodtide by Melvin Burgess
44. The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman*
45. Same-sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe by John Boswell
46. The Comforts of Home: Prostitution in Colonial Naroibi by Luise White
47. Latro in the Mist by Gene Wolfe*
48. Brightness Falls from the Air by James Tiptree Jr.
49. Feminist Social Thought: a reader by various*
50. Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

And yes, for those wondering: all of these books - except two of the Zelazny - are, in fact, actually sitting here in my house.

Our latest book count?


Thus concludes this morning's procrastination post.

7 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Ooh! Jonathan Strange, Ahab's Wife, Moby Dick --excellent, excellent books.

As for Thomas Hardy, I have a torrid love/hate affair with him. I love him in spite of himself, the grumpy old fart. Tess is rough, Jude the Obscure is rougher (stay far, far away from that one), but if you want some good, non-depressing Hardy (it does exist), try Far From the Madding Crowd.

You've got some good stuff on there. I'll have to check out Roger Zelazny. 

Posted by Anne

Anonymous said...

Yea, this is the first Hardy book I've started reading. Not bad, so far. Fascinates me that he got so much lip for showing a heroine who ultimately isn't *totally destroyed* for having sex and getting pregnant.

As for Zelazny, if you're reading old-school male SF authors, I'd definately recommend him. He's pretty much the only one of the male old-school I can think of (besides Delany, but he was more New Wave) who actually had women in his books who were actual characters. Heinlein's women are cardboard cutouts who are just there cause they enjoy having sex with the male protagonists, and Asimov's stance on women characters in SF was that unless you wanted to have a "romance" subplot, women were entirely unneccessary.

So, even though there's not a lot of female main characters, as a supporting cast, they're good. Not so much the Bradbury "honey, you read the paper and I'll get the coffee types." They've all got their own shit going on. Not radical by any means, now, but they stand out from the herd of Old Boys.  

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Anonymous said...

I am impressed that you manage to keep so many novels going at once. I can only do one at a time, though I will keep several non-fiction items going at a time. Latro by Wolfe is an unusual novel (actually, 2), a bit confusing at first. 

Posted by NancyP

Anonymous said...

Yep, It's amazing how they add up so quickly. See Raymond Aaron on Clausewitz. It's a large topic and Karl baby is not as accessible as one might hope. 

Posted by VJ

Anonymous said...

Yep, It's amazing how they add up so quickly. See Raymond Aaron on Clausewitz. It's a large topic and Karl baby is not as accessible as one might hope. BTW: How do you feel about Ursula Le Guin and other women SF writers, (I'm not sure you've ever mentioned her).  

Posted by VJ

Anonymous said...

Hey with just a few more posts, I think I'll get the hang of this new interface...

On Books from NYC's doyen of Lit(!?) MoDo: (Or how to be a pretentious NY twit in 3 easy steps w/o even trying, version 492, Sec. 1600, Part5B, Journos! Ed.):

Via Atrios:

A MoDo Valentine (NYT)

Love Lit 101 By MAUREEN DOWD

Published: February 13, 2005


"There are many angles for romance.

Still, my ears perked up when I recently heard the tale of a New York journalist who gave his wife an unusual birthday present: a list of books from A to Z that would help her better understand him.

I decided to adapt the idea for Valentine's Day, and get some lucky guy the books from A to Z that would help him better understand me.

I prowled Borders, but the more I looked, the more I fretted. I could start with "All the King's Men," but it's pretty obvious that I'm interested in the nexus between politics and dishonesty."

Me, I would have started with 'The Royal Bastards'.

Yeah, you thought I was kidding, right?


Posted by VJ

Anonymous said...

I'll be interested in reading your opinion of "Latro of the Mist" when you finish it. 

Posted by Crush T. Velour