Saturday, January 02, 2010

Reading List 2010

I was blessed with a bunch of books for Christmas, in addition to 3 gift cards for bookstores, so I'm happy about all the books I have to read. So, though, I'm not making a to-do list for 2010 (post below), here's my to-read list, in no particular order:

Illustrated Genesis by R. Crumb. This was a gift I was happy to get, as I had looked at it and was compelled, but unsure if I ever would have bought it for myself. I love gifts like that.

Swish: My quest to become the gayest person ever by Joel Derfner. I saw this on a table and it looked like it might be diverting. Or hilarious. Or both.

Born Round: The secret history of a full-time eater by Frank Bruni. This is by the NYT food critic and journalist. He talks about being heavy his whole life, body issues, gayness, etc. And the blurbs on the back are by Anne LaMott, Augusten Burroughs, Elizabeth Gilbert, and several others that read like a memoir who's who. So I figure hopefully that means it's written well.

Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith. Another gift that I don't know if it would have been on my radar. But I loved On Beauty very much, and I love essays, so this is a perfect fit. In fact since the New Yorker is about the only thing I read on any steady diet, you could say it's becoming my favorite genre. Very excited to read this one.

Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem. This won the National Book Award, so I'm hoping that's an indication, though it's not always. I love NY tales, though not a huge detective freak. I just love this title, though. It's such a great title it makes me want to read it.

Sugarless by James MacGruder. I didn't know about this one, but one of my oldest and dearest gave me this since we did speech in high school together and that's the background for the book. Looks like a romp, and the idea makes me laugh.

Losing Mum & Pup by Christopher Buckley. My boss loaned me this. It's about losing both his parents in the same year. Can't say I'm a Buckley fan, and it seems WASP-y, but looks like it could be good. So far I'm not as engaged as I was with Joan Didion's, but any look at this subject I think is difficult and commendable. Don't know that I'd have the courage.

When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris - I got this a while ago and have been picking my way through it. I like his voice. Not in first gear with it, but fun to pick up.

High on Arrival by Mackenzie Phillips. A colleague at work gave me this who loved it. It's lurid at points, and harrowing. I'm amazed she can even write with all the stuff she's gone through. There's been so much chatter about it it's nice to read and form my own opinion.

Dishwasher: One man's quest to wash dishes in all fifty states by Pete Jordan. I've started it but not particularly hooked. It's kind of a "how I became a slacker" memoir, but also someone who grew up in tough circumstances and turned that in to a not-so-typical way of life. He's a good writer, so I'll be interested to see what he comes to on the journey.

Waiter Rant: Thanks for the tip--Confessions of a cynical waiter by Steve Dublanica. Just what it sounds like. I've heard about this, and a friend gave it to me after he read it and said it was enjoyable. I've waited tables, so needless to say I'm sure I'll laugh.

Whew. That's a lot, it looks like. Well, nice to have some stuff on the docket. Above's what's first in my conciousness, but I'm sure something else will pop in. I'm a bit of an omnivore with books. I'm really hoping to read Mansfield Park as well this year. That and Motherless Brooklyn are the only two fiction pieces, except a collection by Lydia Davis, Varieties of Disturbance, that I've read about half of that I like. Speaking of, I saw her novel (meta-novel) The End of the Story at the store the other day, and that looks good, too. I guess there's always more....


Elizabeth said...

That's a very intriguing list. I've read Born Round and thought it was a fun read but very self-conscious. I was expecting there to be more about food but it's really about his very f'd up relationship to food, and he was amazingly self-centered. Ouch.

Criticlasm said...

That's interesting. It's hard to write a memoir and not sound self-involved, IMHO. I've put down a few since the authors came across as self-centered and kind of annoying. I'll let you know if I feel this way with his.

Speaking of, looks like Elizabeth Gilbert has a new one out on marriage: