American Culture

The 2016 reading list – finally…

An old PSA from the sixties told us that reading was “fun!-damental” – for me, despite whatever other demands tug at my time, reading is absolute necessity….

Most dogs do not wear glasses when they read (image courtesy Reading Stock Photos and Images)

As I have written recently, my reading time has been somewhat curtailed. I have some new administrative responsibilities with the university where I teach (and my latest book to finish) and so have made the decision to shorten my reading list. I suspect I have cut the list too drastically, but better to be cautious than to overreach, I think. I also want to leave plenty of space for books I am asked to review. Then, too, I hope that I’ll be asked to review some books. 🙂

So here in all its glorious brevity is a kinda sorta eclectic list of books I’ll be reading this year. As you’d expect and despite my best intentions, it’s literary fiction heavy. But it has some variety – and as the year goes on, there’ll likely be some additions. Stay tuned…

North Carolina Rivers: Facts, Legends, and Lore – John Hairr. Already written about this compendium of data about North Carolina’s river systems.

A Sweetness to the Soul – Jane Kirkpatrick. My Carol recommended this historical novel about Oregon settlers to me. Currently about halfway through.

The Tale of the Genji – Murasaki Shikibu. The great classic of medieval Japanese literature. A psychological tour de force, I understand. It’s in two books, each about 600 pages. I’ll be engaged for a couple of hours, at least….

Kristin Lavransdatter: The Wife – Sigrid Undset. Book Two of Undset’s classic trilogy about medieval Norse life. I wrote about the first book last year. Looking forward to reading the rest of the story….

Kristin Lavransdatter: The Cross – Sigrid Undset. Book Three of Undset’s trilogy.

Independence Day – Richard Ford. A novel I’ve long meant to read by the contemporary writer who is probably my favorite. If it’s anywhere near Rock Springs or The Sportswriter, I’ll be thrilled.

My Novel: Varieties in English Life – Edward Bulwer Lytton. The author of the infamous line “It was a dark and stormy night” and the inspiration for a famous bad writing contest, Carol and I found a leather bound copy of this in an antique store. Time to find out if Bulwer Lytton is fairly or unfairly labeled one of the worst writers ever.

Behaving Badly – Catherine Heath. Saw the British mini-series based on this novel starring Judy Dench. Thought I’d give this, a British best seller, a whirl.

But Is It Art? – Cynthia Freeland. Another exploration of the philosophy of art and aesthetics. Hoping it’s as challenging and interesting as the work I read by Arthur Danto a couple of years ago.

Sex, Death, and Fly Fishing – John Gierach. As everyone knows, fly fishing is one of my life’s great passions. John Gierach is one of the best writers about fly fishing there is. Haven’t read this in about 20 years. Looking forward to revisiting it.

Morte D’Eden, or Tom Sawyer Meets the Rolling Stones – Jim Booth. As I did with my novel The New Southern Gentleman, I will write an essay about my second work, a book of stories.

There will be other books I write about, of course. I’ll do some reviews. I’ll do a Christmas book and something about Jane Austen. But for now, this is the 2016 Reading List.

Time to go read….