“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
― Oscar Wilde
As I said the other day after I finished La Terre I wanted to evaluate my reading – set up a reading plan. I watched some YouTube videos on setting up a Reading Journal and on reading plans – and did some general web searches on the subject.
What I decided to do was to make some lists of books to read in several categories (I decided to stick, for now, to what’s on my Kindle – there are more books there than I could read in the few years still allocated to me) and then go from there. I chose six fiction novels that looked like the next six I wanted to read. I also started on lists for Self-Help (don’t judge) and for Writing categories. Next, I want to do lists of short story collections and general non-fiction. That should be a good start – I plan on having at least one current book from each category and I can pick and choose depending on my mood.
There is a reason I picked six fiction novels. I have been experimenting with dice... and I wanted to choose the order by roll of the die (six is better than eleven, the numbers from two die, because the odds of each number are the same and I didn’t want to mess around with ranking the books… maybe next time). So I went through my Kindle, listed out six that jumped out at me, and started to roll.
And, here we go:
1st book – Desperate Characters – Paula Fox – 152 pages
2nd book – Mobius Dick – Andrew Crummy – 320 pages
3rd book – Fever Dream – Samanta Schweblin – 183 pages
4th book – The Debacle (Nineteenth Rogon-Macquart novel) – Emile Zola – 592 pages
5th book – Berg – Ann Quin 168 pages
6th book – Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World – Donald Antrim – 192 pages
You will notice a plethora of short, modern books on this list. I wanted a change from Zola… though The Debacle is on the list (almost done with the series).
And yesterday, I started in on Desperate Characters – reading a third of it in one day. It is a jump from the grand scope (in space and time) of Zola’s naturalistic social prose to the focused crystalline details of the more modern novel. It is so compressed, so focused on seemingly random details and thoughts of the characters. Very modern, very New York.
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood