Saturday, January 05, 2008

Five Books to Read in 2008

ICJ's message board has seen some recent threads on New Year's resolutions and video games to play in 2008, so altering the idea a bit for my own purposes, here's five books (already on my bookshelf) I intend to read this year (and if I fail, it'll be pretty shameful):

Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon. The only Pynchon I haven't read, and multiple assaults on its pages have been turned away by the tough-to-penetrate 18th-century dialect. I actually intended to start reading it the morning of January 1st, but got engrossed in Geert Mak's lengthy and excellent "In Europe" while in Colorado and the launch has thus been delayed.

White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I started it last year, found it to be as fantastic as everyone says, then put it aside. Why? I know not.

The Dream of the Decade by Afshin Rattansi. I am bad, bad, bad about reading books by friends of mine (witness the copy of "A House White With Sorrow" by Jennifer Heath on my shelf -- I'll read that too), an unadmirable quality that I intend to change this year.

The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. One of the FDs I haven't read -- started it last year, cast it aside. I've got the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation, so there's no excuse not to read it, and I need to put a dent in the unread-Dostoyevsky pile.

Seven Seasons by Peter Forbath. I got this many, many years ago because I heard in passing that the plot tied into the Prague Spring/Soviet invasion of 1968. Never read it and it's such an old copy that it blends in well to my bookshelf -- it just looks read. This is the 40th anniversary of the above events, so an apt time to find out if this was a good purchase or not.

Many other things that I want to finish/read -- "The Ginger Man," "The Heart of the Matter," "Lolita," many more -- but these are the five I'm committing to. Clip this list, stick it on the fridge, remind me of my progress on December 31st.

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