Resolve to Read 2011

I’m not sure who originated the Resolve to Read thing, but it’s a great idea.   I always have at least one book going, but I’ve never made a cohesive list out of my vague plans to read more books.  Most of the books on this list are books I own and still haven’t read.  I’m making my way through the very dark, very weird, and very long “Perdido Street Station” by China Mieville, but I’m confident I can read all of these (and probably a handful of others) in a year. 

My Antonia” by Willa Cather.  I enjoyed “O Pioneers!” when we read it in college, so I’m interested to read about another quietly strong heroine from Cather.

North and South” by Elizabeth Gaskell.  I adore the BBC adaptation – the story has enough social consciousness and intriguing characters (not to mention some sizzling Austen-style romantic tension) to keep even Kevin’s manly attention through all four parts.  Of course the book will be very different, but I’m curious to see how the romance and social message balance out on the page.

While we’re on the subject of BBC adaptations, I also want to finally read Jane Eyre.  The adaptation I saw was deliciously dark, which makes sense coming from the director of a Bleak House adaptation.  I’ve heard the book is also pretty dark, and I look forward to reading about a romantic heroine who is for the most part more concerned about her own success than in snaring a husband.  Plus a new movie is coming out this spring, which is always a good excuse to get familiar with the source material.

(Sidenote: Seriously, does everything have to have a Twilight-ish cover now?)

Girl Who Played With Fire” and “Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest” by Steig Larsson.  The third one has to come out in paperbook someday.  It has to.

Wow, all of those books feature strong female characters.  That’s very cool, but let’s throw in a little testosterone.

The Once & Future King” by T.H. White.  The last time I read “Mists of Avalon,” I resolved to read more Arthurian stories in hopes of getting a more well-rounded view of the myth.  That was maybe last spring?  And I still haven’t read any.  This will actually be the first true Arthurian myth I’ve ever seen or read – “Mists” is from the female perspective, and “Merlin,” well, Sam Neill is always fun but I don’t think that movie had much in the way of accuracy. 

Merrick” by Anne Rice.  Eventually I will get bored with all that literature.  Let’s read a good old-fashioned mass-market paperback about vampires.  Actually, this one is supposedly about vampires and witches, but I’ve never read anything by Anne Rice and I’ve owned this book for approximately 374825 years.  It’s time.  Besides, it features the characters from “Interview with a Vampire,” which I have seen, so it should make for a good introduction to the world of Anne Rice.

The Windup Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi.  This was supposedly one of the best science-fiction books of 2010, so I grabbed a copy and promptly got distracted by something else.  This year for sure.

From the Dust Returned” by Ray Bradbury.  Occasionally I encounter a Bradbury book I haven’t read yet and my whole universe explodes.  This one sounds like a Tim Burton movie, only it’ll be even creepier and more beautiful because it’s Bradbury.

(Wait a minute…I’ve never read this one either. AAHHHH.)

One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I really hope I like this one.  The title, his name, the cover, everything just screams of tragic poetic beauty, and I would feel like a failure as an English student if I didn’t enjoy this book.  But…that’s what I said about “Midnight’s Children” by Salman Rushdie, and I couldn’t finish it.  We’ll see how this goes.

The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.  I remember buying my secondhand copy from the castle of books in Hay-On-Wye, same town where I collected a couple beat-up pulps and Neil Gaiman’s “The Eternals.”  “The Eternals” has been read three times since then – everything else, zero.  I’ve even read Atwood’s newest, “The Year of the Flood,” and still not “Handmaid’s Tale.”

Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro. This one was made into a movie this year, and by all accounts it’s a beautifully shocking soft sci-fi novel with a good twist. 

All right, that looks like a pretty good list.  What’s on your reading list for this year?  Have I made any egregious omissions?

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4 thoughts on “Resolve to Read 2011

  1. 1) How are you liking Mieville? I really, really wanted to like Kraken, but I couldn’t get past the first 100 pages…
    2) I LOVE North and South!!! If we lived near each other I’d loan you my copy. I also adore the BBC version, and now have to watch Robin Hood so I can see more of Mr. Thornton.
    3) Jane Eyre is fantastic, and I think you’ll love the language of the text (gorgeously dark phrasings)
    4) I grew up where The Handmaid’s Tale takes place, and in my freshman English class in college the professor showed us slides he’d taken of the same area on a trip to Mass and my friend and I were in one of them! Cool, but also sorta creepy.
    5) I also want to read Ishiguro. We should have an online book club.
    6) Have you heard the song/seen the video for “F$#@& Me, Ray Bradbury”? Totally inappropriate, but sorta funny, too.

    • 1) I was totally weirded out at first. “Perdido Street Station” takes place in a fithy, sprawling city, populated by crazy races like bug-headed people and frog-people, and he reminds you every single page how totally gross and awful this city is. It took some getting used to, but the story is actually really intriguing, even though there are two so-far unrelated plots going on. Every time I think I’m not enjoying myself and I don’t want to finish it, I discover that I’ve been reading for an hour and I totally want to know what happens next.

      So, long story short, even though I feel gross and grimy while reading Mieville, I love it.

      2) OMG Thornton. Yum. Did you know he’s going to be Thorin in the Hobbit movie? Peter Jackson is saying he’s going to make the dwarves into sexy action heroes, which frankly sounds bizarre to me, but I’ll take it if it means seeing Richard Armitage more.

      4) Ooh, that is creepy. I didn’t realize it took place in a real city.

      5) We should! We should try to check out copies at the same time. That would be awesome.

      6) I have not seen that, but I think I need to.

  2. The Windup Girl is absolutely fantastic. Kyle was reading it this summer, and I finally got my hands on an epub version through the publisher. I kept thinking of Oryx and Crake throughout, which is another Margaret Atwood book, so if you’re thinking of reading more Atwood and Windup Girl I would add that to your list as well. And I’m actually really surprised you haven’t read Handmaid’s tale yet. However that being said I’m not even remotely familiar with some of the titles you mentioned above, but they sound interesting. I’m going to have to put together my own list of things that I’ve been meaning to read. If only to keep me sort of on track, hah.

    • “Year of the Flood” is a kinda-sorta sequel to “Oryx & Crake,” so I ended up reading a synopsis of it in hopes of getting a better idea of what was going on in “Flood.” (It didn’t help much.) Honestly “Year of the Flood” was a huge letdown, but I’m hoping since “Handmaid” has stuck around for so long, that means it’s better.

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