Archive for January, 2010

Twelve for Twenty

I’ve set out 12 books as a must read program for this year.

Of course, I’ll head other things, as the opportunity arises, but these 12 are a minimum commitment. They include books I want to read again, not having entirely come to grips with them first time around. Happily, these books are already in my possession.

1. What the Dog Saw, Malcolm Gladwell’s collection of New Yorker journalism.

2. The Lacuna, Barbara Kinsolver’s latest novel, after nine years.

3. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, whose full import, after  all these years, still eludes me. A necessary re-read.

4. The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco’s thriller, another re-read.

5. Naipaul. Letters Between a Father and Son.

6, The World is What It is, the unblinking Naipaul biography by Patrick French. Between this and the letters you surely have much of what you need to know about Naipaul.

7. The 13 American Arguments. Howard Fineman’s take on key pressure points that define the American context.

8. Changing my Mind, Zadie Smith’s book of essays.

9. True Compass, Ted Kennedy’s last will and testament.

10. Roads to Quoz, William Heat Moon’s up-dated travels after Blue High Highways.

11. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, a re-read of  Annie Dillard’s scientific poetry — or poetic science.

12. Marcel Proust’s Search for Lost Time: A Reader’s Guide to The Remembrance of Things Past, by Patrick Alexander. Another re-read of this fascinating  course study of Proust, his plot, his characters and Paris of those days. This was easily the most satisfying read for 2009.


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