Sunday, January 2, 2011

29 Books for 29 Years

One of my goals for 2011 is to read more. I've always been a big reader, but since leaving school I've read a little less (especially fiction) and my reading hasn't been very organized, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Regardless, I wanted 2011 to be more focused, so I complied a "must read list" for the year.

I turn 29 in 2011, so my theme for the list is "29 Books for 29 Years." These won't be the only books I read in the new year, but they are my promised books. I will for sure read more poetry than is on the list. The list is mostly fiction. I have one non-fiction and a few poetry books. Two of the poetry book are "collected poems," which means they are very long. I have read pieces of both of these books, but they made the list because I want to read them in their entirety.

I consulted some of my literary friends for book suggestions, which was helpful in creating the list. I also thought of books I've heard great things about, but haven't read. A few of these simply fell through the cracks of my education. For example, I know some of you will be surprised that I have never read The Catcher in the Rye. I also picked books by authors I love like Faulkner and Morrison, but picked books by them I haven't read. I also tried to put a few difficult books on my list to push me.

I'm excited for the challenge of reading these book, blogging about them, and talking about them with my friends. I hope my list will inspire your own reading list for the new year. I want 2011 to be filled with books.

Here is my 2011 reading list:

1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

2. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

3. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

4. Beloved by Toni Morrison

5. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

6. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

7. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

8. Child of God by Cormac McCarthy

9. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

10. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

11. White Teeth by Zadie Smith

12. Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran

13. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

14. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

15. As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann

16. A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters by Julian Barnes

17. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

18. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

19. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

20. The Great Fires by Jack Gilbert

21. Pleasure by Brian Teare

22. Museum of False Starts by Chip Livingston

23. The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands by Nick Flynn

24. Nox by Anne Carson

25. The Best of It: New and Selected Poems by Kay Ryan

26. Come on All You Ghosts by Matthew Zapruder

27. The Salt Ecstasies by James L. White

28. C. P. Cavafy: Collected Poems translated by Daniel Mendelsohn

29. The Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch by Kenneth Koch

As I end this first post of the year, I want to let you all know that I now have a fan page for my blog on Facebook, so check it out. My partner, Dustin, made it for me as a surprise. Here's to another year of blogging and reading!

-Stephen (Reader)


  1. This is my third time trying to leave this comment. You'd think I'd learn to copy and paste, but no.

    Anyway, this looks like a great list! I see several that I absolutely love on here and several I also need to read, so thanks for doing the dirty work of collecting titles for me. Good luck with Beloved--it'll fuck you up almost as much as The Bluest Eye, but that's the magic of Morrison. She'll fuck you up all day long. And The Metamorphosis--oh, god, GREGOR!!!

    Let's please talk about these books as you go through them.

  2. Thanks Jaclyn! We will have to talk about them for sure. Thanks for the suggestions. I love Morrison, so I figured it was time to read Beloved, since that's the book so many first think of when you say her name.

  3. I am soooo excited you plan to read A Confederacy of Dunces. I WILL be lending you my copy to help make sure this happens ;)

  4. This is a great list! I look forward to posts about the books when you read them!

  5. Wow, when you say you're gonna read some fiction, I see you mean some serious, good fiction.