Thursday, August 7, 2014

Reading List

The list of books I want to read is constantly a stressful situation for me.  I find myself overwhelmed by the number of titles on my own bookshelf that I haven't read.  Working in a library doesn't help either.  At any given time I have about 20 books and 10 DVDs checked out.  When I see a book I think looks interesting, I check it out.  I'm not a speed reader, though, so the pile of unread library books in my house is always much larger than my number of free hours.  However, I am determined to make a dent in my to-be-read list in the last weeks of summer.  Here's what is on the agenda.

1. You Feel So Mortal: Essays on the Body by Peggy Shinner
A middle-aged, Jewish lesbian's meditation on her body.  I have read the first essay in this collection, "Family Feet", and honestly I wasn't terribly impressed.  The voice was much too self-pitying for me.  I want to read at least one more of the essays to see if it gets better because it seemed to have so much potential.

2. Atonement by Ian McEwan
Recommended to me by my sister Jessica, my mom, and my friend Mary, this novel covers a good deal of the life of an upper-middle-class girl whose misunderstanding of adult situations changes everyone's lives around her and leaves her in need of atonement.

3. The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
A young American woman travels to Paris. I came across this title in the preface of the new edition of Chocolates for Breakfast. In addition to comparing The Dud Avocado to the book which the author was prefacing, she also likened it to The Bell Jar and The Catcher in the Rye.  If someone claims a book is similar to Pamela Moore's or Sylvia Plath's works, that's really all I need to place it at the top of my reading list.  I also just think I like books with my favorite foods in the titles.

4. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
I just read this blogger's review and now I am intrigued.  It seems like the young female version of Ulysses. Like Chocolates for Breakfast, it is back in print after being forgotten for 50ish years.  McBride is Irish, too. I'm sold.
(Update: 2013 was the first year this was published. McBride wrote it 9 or 10 years ago. My apologies.)

5. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
What sort of feminist and Mad Men fan can I really claim to be if I don't read this revolutionary and legendary text that influenced Matthew Weiner as well as a generation of second-wave feminists?

6. Half the Sky: Turning Opression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
A journalistically-styled nonfiction written by a husband-wife team about women's issues around the world.  I received this as a birthday present from my friend Mathew, so I really should put it to use.

7. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
This is a self-reflective, prose-like set of essays written by Charles Lindbergh's wife is a thoughtful evaluation of her own experiences as a mother and wife who has personal ambitions in addition to her family obligations.  I have read the first half of this twice and would really like to make myself finish it.  I've talked about it a little here already.

8. One L by Scott Turow
Turow's memoir of his first year at Harvard Law.  This is another book of which I have read almost half.  This one was recommended somewhere on some sort of informative "so you want to go to law school" list, which I do, so I thought I better.  While the experiences of a Stanford-educated man in the 1970s might differ quite a bit from a Midwest woman in 2014, I doubt law school has changed fundamentally.  It's probably still just as stressful, competitive, draining, and rewarding as Turow makes it out to be.  Right, Megan, my suffering law student friend? :)

9. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
My dad has already read my copy of this and recommended it.  I don't know much about it except my dad described it as Siddartha-esque and Wikipedia says it's about a young shepherd in search of an Egyptian treasure.

10. Como Agua Para Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
I read this amazing book recently in English (Like Water for Chocolate) at my sister Jill's recommendation.  It is a Mexican love story centered around family recipes with some bizarre magical realism thrown in.  I think it would be rewarding (and challenging) to read it in the original Spanish and make comparisons.

I'll stop at ten.

Have you read any of these? Any thoughts? Where should I start?? (Help!)

(My and Luna's favorite window in our new house)