ouch! those gauntlets hurt!
At this moment my husband is watching his team (the Bears) play in the superbowl, so I’m hiding in the office and blogging. I have nothing against the superbowl, but, as I’m from Wisconsin (where you are practically made into a cheesehead/Packer fan in utero) seeing my team’s arch-rivals in the game is a bit of a downer. Being married to a rabid fan of said team is even tougher. (The only football news I care about from this week is that Brett Favre will be returning next season–now if we could just get a team together to back him up).
But I digress….
I missed out on joining the Chunkster Challenge, so I’ve decided to dive in and tackle two others. I like the idea of having a set list (or two) to choose from, as I tend to run around like a chicken with my head cut off looking for my next book to read. Invariably this means that I completely ignore the unread books already on my shelves and head out to the library or bookstore for something new. Between these two challenges I’ll be able to rest easy in the knowledge that I have actually taken some of the books that I already own and finally read them. And when I do set out to find some at the bookstore or library, I’ll have more direction (which won’t stop me from picking COMPLETELY random books up and lugging them home as well). The gauntlet has been thrown….
The first challenge is the NYT Notable Fiction Books of 2006 challenge, found here. I’ve parsed the list down to 14 (ok, now it’s 15–see? it never ends with me!) that I REALLY want to try for. I tend to lean towards non-fiction, so this is a great way for me to try to get more fiction in my literary diet. Here are my initial selections (in no particular order–ok, it’s alphabetical by title; I was trying not to look too obsessive-compulsive, but I failed): Update: I have decided to throw a few more books into the ring for a total of 20 (because i can’t stop myself)–the new additions are listed in red:
- “Absurdistan” by Gary Shteyngart
- “Against the Day” by Thomas Pynchon
- “Apex Hides the Hurt” by Colson Whitehead
- “Arthur and George” by Julian Barnes
- “Beasts of No Nation” by Uzodinma Iweala
- “Brookland” by Emily Barton
- “The Dream Life of Sukhanov” by Olga Grushin
- “The Emperor’s Children” by Claire Messud
- “Forgetfulness” by Ward Just
- “Golden Country” by Jennifer Gilmore
- “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- “The Keep” by Jennifer Egan
- “The Inhabited World” by David Long
- “The Inheritance of Loss” by Kiran Desai
- “Old Filth” by Jane Gardam
- “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy
- “Skinner’s Drift” by Lisa Fugard
- “Special Topics in Calamity Physics” by Marisha Pessl
- “Suite Française” by Irène Némirovsky
- “A Woman in Jerusalem” by A.B. Yehoshua
The second challenge is more up my alley (as far as my usual reading habits go). It’s the Non-fiction 5 Challenge found here. The goal is to read five non-fiction books from May to September. Joy, of “Thoughts of Joy” is sponsoring it:
- “The Girl with the Gallery” by Lindsay Pollock (biography of Edith Gregor Halpert and her influence on modern art in America)
- “Dark Sun” by Richard Rhodes (making of the hydrogen bomb–I LOVED his book on the atom bomb–anybody who can interest me in nuclear physics is a special kind of writer in my book)
- “Tolstoy” by A.N. Wilson (biography of the author of so many “loose baggy monsters”)
- “Gulag” by Anne Applebaum (award-winning history of the gulags)
- “Guns of August” (a book that I should have read LONG ago on the beginning of WWI)–I seem to have a strange fascination for war
In case those don’t pan out (or my notoriously capricious nature wins out and I change my mind AGAIN), I’ve put a list of initial alternate books together:
- “A Life in Secrets” by Sarah Helm (the biography of Vera Atkins and espionage in WW2)
- “Inside the Victorian Home” by Judith Flanders (a look into domestic life in Victorian England)
- “Postwar” by Tony Judt (Europe after WW2)
- “Five Germanies I Have Known” by Fritz Stern (autobiography/memoir about the different faces of Germany throughout the 20th century)
- “James Tiptree Jr.” by Julie Phillips (the biography of the writer Alice B. Sheldon)
- “The Judgment of Paris” by Ross King (about the birth of Impressionism)
Ok, ok, I hear clapping and cheering from the other room and I can’t stay here forever (mainly because the heat in this old house we rent doesn’t come into the office and my fingers are turning blue), so I’m off to watch the superbowl, play the supportive spouse, and try to avoid muttering too much trash talk (although how can one resist?).
Note: if anyone is interested in looking at some science writing for the Non-Fiction five challenge, my husband has started to collect a number of titles from his colleagues on his blog. He keeps a running tally on the sidebar with links to the book. They are listed under “The Great Science Book Challenge.” Give it a look-see!