I have recently finished an experiment which lasted the whole of 2009. I committed myself to a reading list, but one that was descriptive rather than prescriptive in that I only added books to the list once I had completed them. I have never had too much of an urge to create a reading list to follow for any period of time but I have toyed with ideas of recording my reading habits, and must thank Evan for suggesting this wonderfully simple one that I overlooked. Below is a the list, broken down by month, of what I read in 2009:
Twilight Watch, Starship Troopers, Care of the Soul, The Reason For God
House of Leaves, Preacher TPBs 1-9, A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings, Bird by Bird, Y the Last Man TPBs 1-10, A Storm of Swords, A Feast of Crows, On Bullshit, Fables and Fairytales
American Gods, Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin
The Bible, War and Peace
Dead Until Dark
Hood, Living Dead in Dallas
Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, Definitely Dead, All Together Dead
Les Miserables, When You Are Engulfed In Flames, Luck in the Shadows
The Name of the Wind, Foreskin’s Lament, Player Piano, Last Watch
First of all, I am a little bit ashamed that I only completed 36 books in 2009. True, The Bible, Les Miserables, and War and Peace are all beasts that are several times longer than the average novel, but I still feel like I should have been able to complete more books in a year's time. One may look at this list and say "Shit Andrew, you sure have a lot of goddamn silly books on that there list." To which I would reply "That is true" as I fire my automatic shotgun into the advancing zombie horde (because obviously this question was asked by a well read yokel during a zombie apocalypse in which we are fighting our way to freedom through a bayou. I think that it is important to talk about things like reading, self reflection, as well as future goals during the realization of any type of apocalypse, because, aside from basic survival, there are many good reasons to clear the land of the violent undead. Not the least of which being that as one of the sole survivors (due mostly to my excellent shotgun skills) I would be in an excellent position to reshape society into one that once again prizes books above other forms of entertainment).
I have read a lot of fluff in the last year, and I hope to change that somewhat, but the fact remains that reading, for me, is definitely a form of entertainment. I love the books that require a bit of brain sweat, but I also like the books that allow me to turn off the unending self-reflection, social commentary, insane ideas, and inane chatter that is my cerebrum. Also, I feel I can defend almost every book on this list (except for Luck in the Shadows, fuck you Powells for suggesting this book as an acceptable place holder for George R. R. Martin's tardy novels. Fuck your stupid face and this awful waste of paper.). Even the Sookie Stackhouse series contains some very interesting complexities and social commentary. Plus, I read that series via audio book (if you want to argue with me about the validity of "reading" audio books, go right ahead but I cannot think of a safer way to read a book while driving or riding a bike.) and I am falling in love with the accessibility of audio books and find that I would rather listen to a book for a half hour than watch just about any show on television.
For the next year, I plan on continuing my reading list, but I hope to post it each month with a short defense of each book I read. I say defense because I don't want to do a full fledged book review, and I know that I will continue to read many fun books but feel that I ought to try and keep myself accountable that the books I read are also reasonably worthwhile. I also hope to read a lot more books this year, and, as I have already finished three books this year and in the midst of two more, I believe I can reach this goal.
This is but one of several challenges I have set for myself in the next year, and, like this reading list, I believe that I will only post them once I have successfully completed them. That way, if I fail miserably, no one will ever know. But if I don't post any completed challenges, feel free to assume I have died or my life has fallen apart completely and I have moved into my parents basement/tool shed where I chain smoke in between shots of some horrific grain alcohol as I play World of Warcraft and masturbate furiously in my specially reinforced chair that is necessitated by my corpulence.