Thursday, December 22, 2011

Reading in 2012

This is always an incredibly exciting time of year for me, the time when January is in sight and I begin planning projects and goals for the new year.  I love the process of it, the anticipation, the figuring out how it all will work. Let's be clear: these are not resolutions, they are plans. I like to bite off just enough to feel motivated.

I plan to read more in 2012. That is, I plan to read more intentionally. I recently stumbled upon Jim Trelease's advice on reading with your children in which he says "Don't continue reading a book once it is obvious that it was a poor choice." Preach it, brother.

I don't think I wasted much time reading duds in 2011, but I also think I didn't spend enough time consciously choosing delicious books. There are so many plums to be picked. Let's not fritter our reading time away on poor choices, or out of a sense of obligation that a book, once started, must be finished. Life's too short. Let's purposely pick the juiciest plums.

To this end, I would like to make 2012 the Year of the Classics. There are so many I have never read, especially ones that people assume I have read given my background. There are even ones that I assume I have read, because I talk about them as though I have.

So. I'm compiling a list. A list of good books, good-for-me books, classics I shouldn't skip over. I'd like to populate the list with 20 or 30 books, then pick one a month in 2012. If I read more than that, hooray for me (and the books). But I think given my current at-home constituency, one "real" book a month is a fair goal, especially when we know it will happen in addition to my usual lighter reading.

I'm starting my list of books to read. (See below; you'll notice I interpret the word classic fairly loosely.) And this is where I need your help. Can you help me compile my list? What classics do you love so much that you can't imagine a life without having read them?

I can't wait to hear from you, here or otherwise!

The GM

My Plum Tree for 2012
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese


Lindsey said...

I highly recommend Devotion, by Dani Shapiro, if you haven't read it ... also just read Ondaatje's latest which I adored but depends if you like his stuff ... love your list! xox

Natalie Cannon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Natalie Cannon said...

I'm assuming you aren't a big Sci-Fi fan but, this is one of my favorites and even people that don't like sci-fi love it. Jason has read it so many times we've worn through several copies. I am considering it a "classic" because there is a military school that has it as required reading. It is very entertaining and from one of my favorite authors. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Jason can wax poetic about why it should be read more than I can but rest assured, it's awesome. Or maybe you should have Gutsy Dad read it and then tell you if you'll like it:)

The Gutsy Mom said...

Oh thank you, thank you, thank you, ladies. Lindsey, I've read nothing by Dani Shapiro, can you believe it? I'll for sure add Devotion to my list. I've read a few of Ondaatje's (English Patient, Anil's Ghost, In the Skin of the Lion) and remember LOVING English Patient (read it before the movie), but don't remember much of the other two, Will have to look into his latest. Natalie, I will read ANYTHING if it is good. I love your argument for why Ender's Game should be on my list. Also love that both you and Jason like it. Can't wait to start reading!

The Gutsy Mom said...

Commenting on my own post again (how much of a dork am I) to remind myself that I also would like to read: The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett) and Gilead (Marilynne Robinson).

Scottie Mom said...

I just finished "Cutting for Stone" after it had repeatedly been recommended & then sat on my nightstand for 10 months (& was dragged on countless trips). I enjoyed it, so I think it is a good addition to your list. Looks like a great list of old & modern classics.

Katie in Austin said...

Well, she said coyly, since you asked...

Anya Seton: Katherine
Robert Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land
Dorothy Dunnett: The House of Niccolo (7 volumes, well worth it)
Italo Calvino: Invisible Cities

. . .

I have a very long list, but you will have a busy year, so I will start thinking NOW for 2013. How's that for optimism?

Merry Christmas, Happy New year, and blessings to you all!

Fizi said...

I can also recommend Cutting for Stone. I read it on Kindle while feeding Isla! I also thoroughly enjoyed The Secret Garden (although I read it as a teenager!). I also enjoy Dickens. Have you tried any by him? You idea of a list sounds like an excellent idea.