Right now, I’m in the midst of The Year of Reading Women, and while I have not read as many books by women as I’d like this year, it has been an interesting experience to engage entirely with the words of other women in my free reading time. More on that later though.
Because today, I’m looking forward and assuaging a desire I have to dive into one particular book by a man by talking about that book and 9 others I’ll pick up in 2015.
1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – One of the members of the Painted Steps Writers’ Group has made me nearly salivate in anticipation of this reading experience, and after she recommended it to another member, his review made my heart ache for it. Soon, beautiful. Soon.
2. Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska by John Green – I have a writerly crush on John Green both for his writing skill but also for his way of viewing writing – as a way of giving gifts. Look out Sherman Alexie, Green may take your spot as the writer who makes me speechless.
3. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie – I should have read this decades ago, I know. But it has never quite seemed the time until now. I’m eager to delve in, to explore cultures and histories I know only in a glancing way. Plus, I want to understand the fatwah on Rushdie if I can.
4. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano – I’ve read segments of this for various courses and for my own understanding of slavery, but I think it’s time I give myself to Equiano’s perspective entire. (By the way, the Kindle edition of this book is free right now.)
5. Seeing by Jose Saramago – Saramago’s Blindness is still the book I think of when I consider how to write a crisis or how to skillfully study human behavior in a novel. So this follow-up to that book has intrigued me since it came out.
7. The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772–1832 by Alan Taylor – I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with Alan Taylor, and he was kind and generous, as I’m sure is true of this book. Plus, I need to know more about the War of 1812. The class I took in college blew right past me.
8. The Cider House Rules by John Irving. While I don’t always love American foreign policy or American patriotism, I do love American culture, and Irving’s work always speaks to me of that. I have read most of his other work, but not this one. It’s time.
9. The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco – Eco is one of my favorite writers, but his writing is dense and complex and takes a lot of effort. This may be a good January read when the evenings are long.
10. Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead – I had begun this book in the early part of the year, before I let woman supersede men for almost 12 months. I was enjoying it, so soon, I will be able to finish and appreciate Whitehead’s astute cultural commentary and humor.
As I made this list, I realized something – I tend to put aside books by men more often than I do women. I never abandon books unless they offend me, but I do set them away for a time if I don’t connect to them. I wonder if my lack of connection to these speaks to something about men’s writing (not to group all male writers into a group) or if this is coincidence? Any thoughts?
By the way, for the rest of 2014, I have some good women in the line up, including finish Claire Messud’s amazing The Woman Upstairs, getting my hands on Marilynne Robinson’s Lila, and giving Goldfinch by Donna Tartt a try.
What books by men do you love? Do you find yourself connecting more to writing by one gender over the other?
Incidentally, I’m on Goodreads, and while I don’t post reviews of every book I read here, I do post them on Goodreads. Send me a friend request there if you’d like.