Monday, September 22, 2008

Fall Into Reading 2008: Time to Read!

A fall ritual here in my town is the annual Friends of the Library book sale. I took DD Bookworm over the weekend and she stocked up on bags and bags of books. I bought just a handful although there were dozens that caught my eye. Why? Because I have a glut of books sitting on the shelves waiting to be read. It's not the current best sellers - it's the two years ago best sellers that I can now pick up for a quarter at a sale or at a thrift shop. So I was considering a post with a list of all the books that are sitting in the order that I think I want to read them. I envisioned the list with me going back to "cross off' the ones that I had finished - a testament to my reading stamina. And, of course, like the rest of my blog, it would be just for me - I'm alone out here in cyberspace you know!

But then I visited a blog on my Google reader that was participating in Fall Into Reading 2008: Time to Read! and it was a perfect fit for my state of mind. So I am joining a community. Which probably means I should edit my profile so it says something! I'm excited to see what everybody is reading. I can't wait to compare notes if there are any crossovers - that would mean someone else out there is as behind in their reading as me - boy, wouldn't that make me feel better! Improved self-esteem coming right up.

So, here's my list of fiction books that I have on hand waiting to be read. I'm not including the non-fiction books that I have that I think I should read because they will make me smarter - I'm going to throw in the towel on those for awhile and not even pretend that I might read them. I'm also not including my "To Read for Work" pile. Those get read in the hours that my appointments don't show and I want to use "professional reading" as my project code on my time sheet rather than "sat in the parking lot and did Sudoku" - which for some reason my employer likes to consider as "annual leave". But here is what I do plan to read, in order, although it could change based on feedback from others! My quesstimate of what I will accomplish between now and Christmas - maybe the first four - and then The Pillars of the Earth will do me in and it will all come to a grinding halt - have you seen it? That book is like three inches thick in paperback! But everyone says I will love it.

The Tent by Gary Paulsen So I am totally cheating with this one - it's juvenile fiction. Youngest and I are reading it aloud together and we are about a third of the way through. I will probably read ahead and finish it tonight just to preview. Not only because I am curious about how the story progresses but also because there was a reference to sex in what we read today and that was pretty much more than I wanted to discuss with my third grader. I am definitely not opposed to smut in my fiction - the fact that I have to edit my donations to our church thrift shop is evidence to that effect. I'm just opposed to it in the fiction I'm listening to a third grader read! Those darn good readers - ready for the vocabulary, ready for the sentence structure, just not necessarily ready for the actual content. But I just looked ahead at that paragraph and said to him - "hmm, we'll just skip this part" and he was like, "Ooooh-kay." Apparently he doesn't really want to read smut with his mother around either. But I love Gary Paulsen - Hatchet, Brian's Winter, he's wonderful. How was I to know this one was a little further off the path?! Well, cheating or not, I expect by this time tomorrow, I will have a notch on my belt!

Here's the rest of the list.....
The Gravedigger’s Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates
From the back cover: Fleeing Nazi Germany in 1936, the Schwarts immigrate to a small town in upstate New York. Here the father - a former high school teacher - is demeaned by the only job he can get: gravedigger and cemetary caretaker. When local prejudice and the family's own emotional fraility give rise to an unthinkable tragedy, the gravedigger's daughter, Rebecca, heads out into America. Embarking upon an extraordianry odyssey of erotic risk and ingenius self-invention, she seeks renewal, redemption, and peace - on the road to a bittersweet and distinctly "American" triumph.

Object Lessons by Anna Quindlen
From the dust jacket: Young Maggie Scanlon begins to sense that, beneath the calm, everyday surface of her peaceful suburban life, everything is going mysteriously wrong. Her all-powerful grandfather is reduced to a shadow by a stroke, and to Maggie's astonishment this causes her usually unemotional father to burst into tears. And Connie, her lushly beautiful mother, who Maggie could always be sure of finding at home, is now rarely there. Her street smart cousin Monica and her best friend, Debbie, start doing things that leave her frightened about sex and sin. All theses shifts become so linked in Maggie's mind to the building of a housing development behind her home that, years later, whenever she smells "the peculiar odor of new construction, of pine planking and plastic plumbing pipes," Maggie will think back to this summer.

Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy
From the dust jacket: In a small Greek island village, a group of travelers from around the world and the local residents they encounter are brought together in unexpected ways when sudden tragedy strikes.

Cage of Stars by Jacquelyn Mitchard
From the dust jacket: Twelve-year-old Veronica Swan’s idyllic life in a close-knit Mormon community is shattered when her two younger sisters are brutally murdered. Although her parents find the strength to forgive the deranged killer, Scott Early, Veronica cannot do the same.
Years later she sets out alone to avenge here sisters’ deaths, dropping her identity and severing ties in the process. But as she closes in on Early, Veronica will discover the true meaning of sin and compassion…before she makes a decision that will change her and her family forever.

The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve
From the back cover: "I wonder this: If you take a woman and push her to the edge, how will she behave?" The question is posed by Jean, a photographer, who in 1995 arrives on Smuttynose Island, off the coast of Maine, to research a century-old crime. As she immerses herself in the details of the case - an outburst of passion that resulted in the deaths of two women - Jean herself enters precarious emotional testimony. The suspicion that her husband is having an affair burgeons into jealousy and distrust, and ultimately propels Jean to the verge of actions she had not known herself capable of - actions with horrific consequences.

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

I'm skipping this is SOOOOO LOOOONG! I think I need to save it for Thanksgiving when I'll have a few days off of work. Especially since everyone who recommends it says once you start, you can't put it down.

The Breakdown Lane by Jacquelyn Mitchard

From the back cover: Giving advice is what Julieanne does for a living – every Sunday in an advice column in her local paper. But in her own life, Julieanne missed some clues. She is completely caught off guard when her husband, Leo, tells her he needs to go on a “sabbatical” from their life together, leaving Julie with three children. Things worsen when Julie is diagnosed with a serious illness and the children undertake a dangerous journey to find Leo – before it’s too late. As the known world sinks from view, the clan must work their way back to solid ground and to a new definition of family.

Wallflower at the Orgy by Nora Ephron

From the back cover..From her Academy Award-nominated screenplays to her bestselling fiction and essays, Nora Ephron is one of America's most gifted, prolific, and versatile writers. In this classic collection of magazine articles, Ephron does what she does best: embrace American culture with love, cynicism, and unmatched wit.

Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

Double Take by Catherine Coulter

The Thorn Birds by Colleen Mccullough

Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

A Theory of Relativity by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Blood Orange by Drusilla Campbell

Reading Lolita In Tehran by Azar Nafisi

The Sunday Wife by Cassandra King

The Blue Bedspread by Raj Kamal Jha

The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons

Out to Canaan by Jan Karon

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

My Losing Season by Pat Conroy

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Whew! I need some vacation - full time employment is just not conducive to full time book reading!


Mad said...

Good luck completing the challenge! Happy Reading! :)

Beth F said...

You have some great books on your list. Some of them are really long! Good luck and have fun.

Joyful Days said...

What an ambitious & great list!! Looking forward to some reviews.

Jessica said...

Under the Tuscan Sun is one of my favorite books of all time! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.:)

Katrina said...

Looks like a great list! Plenty of variety and lots of books to keep you busy this fall. I love picking up last year's best sellers on the discount table. There a very few authors who tempt me to buy their books right away...most I can wait on. Thanks for being part of Fall Into Reading '08!