Tuesday, November 29, 2016

To Read #001

My to-read list, like most readers, grows exponentially. I've had to learn to accept that I will never catch up; there is simply not enough time for all the books I want to read. It is the greatest tragedy of my life.

A more disciplined person would finish reading a book before buying more, but I've never been very good at telling myself "no." I like to think that I'm a fairly logical person in life, but all of that goes out the window when it comes to books.

To put it simply: I just counted and I currently own nearly 80 books that I have not read yet.

Clearly, it's getting out of hand. I've issued a moratorium on books (both purchased myself and given as gifts) several times over the course of my life to varying to degrees of success, and I think it's time for another. I'm going to knock down my to-read list starting with the books sitting on my shelf right now (and I'm sharing them here so maybe someone will hold me accountable). Here's what's up first:

● Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
At the age of twenty-three, armed only with a degree in medieval history and (what some would call) a morbid fascination, Caitlin Doughty took a job at a crematory. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells the story of her first six years working in the American funeral industry, and (according to the San Francisco Chronicle) "will make you reconsider how our culture treats the dead."

● Us by David Nicholls
Douglas and Connie Petersen have been married for nearly three decades when Connie decides she wants a divorce. Naturally, this happens right before they are supposed to leave on a month-long European tour with their teenaged son, Albie. Connie can't bring herself to cancel the trip, and Douglas is convinced this is his chance to fix things. Will it work? Will this be a happy ending? Will this book be even half as good as One Day? I'll let you know.

● Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
Having been an English major, there are many books that I haven't read that I feel I should have read already (like The Catcher in the Rye or anything by Ernest Hemingway). Love in the Time of Cholera is included on that list, and even though I can't read the title without hearing Robin Scherbatsky say, "More like Love in the Time of Don't-Bother-a," I'm looking forward to it.
In his memoir, Strub takes us through his own diagnosis and experiences as an activist living in New York during the AIDS epidemic of the early 1980s. It will be a tough read, but also, I think, a very important one.

● The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
Full disclosure: I started this book over a year ago and for some reason put it down about a third of the way through. I don't know why I stopped reading because I was enjoying it (in an I-studied-English-and-can-relate-to-this-level-of-unabashed-pretension kind of way) and would like to finish it. From what I remember, two of the three main characters were intensely unlikeable, which always makes for an interesting read.

● Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
I think Mindy Kaling is ridiculous in the best possible way and am so excited to finally read one of her books. They're calling it a "second coming-of-age" story–best for anyone who's ever reached a turning point in their life. (I hear there are also details about her "weird as hell" relationship with B.J. Novak and I don't know about you, but that's something I've always been super invested in.)

I'm already halfway through Why Not Me? (delightful) and we're reading Smoke Gets in Your Eyes for book club this month (very macabre–in a good way!), so I'm starting off strong. Maybe I could even knock these out before the new year?! We'll see.

What about you? What's next up on your to-read list?


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