Thursday, January 07, 2010

What To Read?

In my previous post, I mentioned one of my goals for 2010 was to read 50 books. 50 doesn't really sound like all that many books, but I don't think I've read 50 books (not counting graphic novels) in a single year for quite a while. I got the idea for this goal over on LibraryThing, where there are a variety of book challenges going on: 50, 75, 10 books in each of 10 different subjects, books you already own but haven't read, and so on.

I've set a few limits and guidelines for myself, in order to help me focus and keep on target for making my goal this year.
  1. Only 20 graphic novels count towards the 50 books: This is to keep me from choosing the easy way out, and finishing early. I tend to read at least 2-3 graphic novels or comic book collections a week, sometimes many more than that. Since I read them both for pleasure and for work (I'm the graphic novel subject librarian for the library where I work), I'll quickly hit 50 books without reading anything but graphic novels.
  2. Graphic novels that do count must be complete, stand alone stories: A large percentage of the graphic novels I read are simply compilations of a run of comics. In order to count, the book must be a stand alone story. Titles like Batman: Year One or Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 would count, but Invincible Volume 11 would not. 
  3. Focus on books I own, have checked out from the library, or have wanted to read for a long time: I have a very long "To Be Read" list, and it grows longer each week. Instead of reading from this list, I just add to it, and never seem to read what I have already put on the list. Instead I read whatever I saw most recently that struck me as worth adding to the list, so the longer a book is on the list the less likely I'll read it. By trying to read mostly books that I already want to read or own instead of whatever I come across new, I hope to make a small dent in the pile. I'm sure I will not stick to this 100%, but that's fine. 
  4. Mix up genres a little: I tend to read the same genres over and over-fantasy, science fiction, horror, and similar. I'm going to make an effort to occasionally read something different, just to make my list a bit more rounded. I'm sure the bulk of titles will be in these areas, though.
With those ideas in mind, here is a quick starter list of potential books, taken from my book shelves at home and in my office at the library. A few of these I've owned since high school, yet have never read. Others I've picked up in the last year or so. Any could be next, so could something not on this short list. As of this writing, I've actually completed one (Manhood for Amateurs) and started another (Eyes of the Dragon) from my list.

See anything that I should read right away?

A Feast for Crows
George R.R. Martin
Clive Barker
Anno Dracula
Kim Newman
Tim Powers
Everyday Life in Early America
David Freeman Hawke
Expiration Date
Tim Powers
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
J.K. Rowling
Into the Heart of Borneo
Redmond O'Hanlon
Magician: Apprentice
Raymond E. Feist
Manhood for Amateurs
Michael Chabon
Moving Pictures
Terry Pratchett
Neil Gaiman
Orchid Fever
Eric Hansen
Return to Lankhmar
Fritz Leiber
The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier & Clay
Michael Chabon
The Blade Itself
Joe Abercrombie
The Bloody Chamber
Angela Carter
The Bridge of San Luis Rey
Thornton Wilder
The Children of Hurin
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian
Robert E. Howard
The Crystal World
J.G. Ballard
The Elric Saga: Part I
Michael Moorcock
The Eyes of the Dragon
Stephen King
The Good Life
Helen and Scott Nearing
The Jungle Books
Rudyard Kipling
The Land that Time Forgot
Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Pine Barrens
John McPhee
The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane
Robert E. Howard
The Scar
China Mieville
The Traveling Vampire Show
Richard Laymon
The Truth
Terry Pratchett
Voice of the Mountain
Manly Wade Wellman
Witches Abroad
Terry Pratchett
Wizard and Glass
Stephen King

Listening:  Muse-Origin of Symmetry


Professor Pope said...

Let's choose our next one together and we can kinda book club it!

How was Manhood for Amateurs?

Risus Monkey said...

My choices for you...

Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
Declare by Tim Powers
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien

Of course, those are just the books that I read and adored. If you want to pick something to book club on our next outing, then it'll have to be something else.

I'm currently bouncing between "The Coming of Conan", "Spook Country" (by Gibson), "Baltimore" (by Mike Mignola), "Expiration Date" by Powers, and a reread of "Dracula".

Oh yes, of books then I have recently, "World War Z" and "The Strain" were the most fun. Also just finnished "The Case of CHarles Dexter Ward" by Lovecraft.

Cthulhu's Librarian said...

@Prof Pope-I'm all for choosing one together! We can discuss it this weekend. I'm writing up a short review of Manhood for Amateurs, it should be up soon. I'd recommend reading it.

@Risus Monkey-World War Z was a lot of fun to read, and a great take on the zombie end of the world scenario. I've seen The Strain, but hadn't really even considered it. I assume that you'd recommend it?

Risus Monkey said...

Oh yes, "The Strain" is awesome. Best vampire book I've read in a long time. No Twilight sparkle vampires to be found. Very scary (and very Guillermo del Toro).

I'm also reading the Lord Darcy stories (got the book for Christmas). Very cool.