Book List 2011plus P.E. for the ADD writer in all of us.

Posted: 9 June, 2011 in Bookish, Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

Shuffle says: “Frank and Jesse James” Warren Zevon, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead

Ok, so it’s a little late to be posting this, but I figured I’d throw it up anyway. The idea for actually making the list came after celebrating New Year’s with my new family. We discussed resolutions, something I’ve never really been into. ¬†I feel like it’s a set up for failure. ¬†People tend to forget about them a month in and then fuck it. ¬†I’m always resolving to do better and mostly failing so I really don’t see the need for a special event to do so. ¬†Somehow, though I got it into my head that if I had a resolution it would have to be something that functionally must fit into a year. ¬†And for some reason I decided that a great year long¬†endeavor that would actually serve to better myself¬†would be to pick a reading list and try to stick to it.

I can’t help but feel this list is also a confession of sorts. ¬†There are a number of books on here that I either never finished or should have read years ago. In Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler the opening chapter portray’s you in the process of buying the book at the store and while you’re walking though the aisles of books and putting them into categories such as “books you always meant to read, but something always came up” and “books you pretend to have read and now are afraid to read because someone might catch you”. ¬†That scene resonated with me for¬†reasons you might pick up in the descriptions of the books posted below.

It also serves to remind myself regularly that I am a working writer now and this should be considered part of my JOB. So while the list feels a bit overwhelming, I’m trying to tend to it daily as part of my works schedule. ¬†Finding the proper venues always helps as well. I’m on the train one to three days out of the week giving me almost two hours round trip, which has helped tremendously with giving me free time with very limited uses.

You’ll also notice a fair amount of audio books on the list. I’m taking a page (pun intended) out of Neil Gaiman’s book (or should I say “off his blog”) here. A few weeks ago he posted this entry, where he discusses his new work out plan. Since I stopped training a few years ago, I’ve gotten terribly out of shape and in the past few months have really started to notice it. ¬†No one ever told me that writers live quite sedentary lives and I don’t think I am taking to it very well. I spent a significant amount of my day sitting in front of the computer for work, not to¬†mention¬†the time I spend sitting on the train, sitting at the dinner table, sitting while writing the blog, and so on and so forth. Honestly the most¬†exercise¬†I get is walking to improv and running around on stage.

Meanwhile in Wisconsin, Mr. Gaiman was experience similar issues and decided to start working out 40 or 20 minutes¬†¬†every day, but was a bit disheartened with the prospect of doing something so “boring”. Then he got the Idea to download Audio books, queue up 40 minutes worth of a book and go. I must say I really like the idea of engaging the mind while training the body and I’m gonna take his advice. ¬† The books listed run about a day a piece, which will last me I dunno how long (learning math is not among my new years resolutions) and if I run out I’ve got some old favorites: the Narnia series, A Christmas Carol (read by Patrick Stewart), Sherlock Holmes (Sir Christopher Lee), The¬†Odyssey (Sir Ian McKellen), and the Lord of the Rings to slake my workout needs.

I’m shooting for a book a week, so there should be 52 books on this list.¬†Obviously some of these I’ve already gone through. ¬†If any of you want to recommend anything it will go swiftly to the bottom of the stack. Feel free to read along.

1. If On A Winter’s Night a Traveler РItalo Calvino
Done. One of the best books I have ever read. Now on my top ten and have added more Calvino to the reading list.

2. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs – Chuck Klusterman
Done. Trying to read some non-fiction.

3. The Portable Beat Reader – various
I have this thing for letters. It seems every generation of writers (and artists in general) are very connected and I want to learn more about the relationships between that lot.

4. Smoke and Mirrors – Neil Gaiman
Done

5. Sandman volumes 6-10 – Neil Gaiman
I know I know, I am a bad comic book writer for never finishing the series.

6. Ice Cream and Sadness – Various
Done. Yeah, I’m pseudo padding the list with comic books I got at Christmas.

7. Best New American Voices – Various

8. Artist Depending a staircase РTom Stoppard

9. Ulyses – James Joyce
one of the “Big scary monsters” on the list

10. The Maltese Falcon – Dashell Hammet
One of my favorite movies. I love super stylized hard-boiled stuff.

11. The Master and the Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
Added after many¬†recommendations. ¬†Also, I’ve never read anything by a Russian yet. This was also¬†recommended¬†by Neil Gaiman as an audio book and it may end up there.

12. A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemmingway
One of my favorite authors and I’ve never read this one.

13. The crying of lot 49 – Thomas Pynchon
Short and weird. Plus people keep telling me I’d really like the play in it.

14. One Flew Over the Coockoo’s nest РKen Kessey

15. Long Day’s Journey into night РEugine O’neil
I’m including plays in here too. I heard this once described as “about how Catholics are miserable, bad people and are all going to hell”

16. Iron Weed – William Kennedy
Recommended for me specifically by one of my writing teachers. Who said my style is heading in that direction and it would serve me to read this.

17. The story behind the Story – Various
A collection of short stories and essays by the authors about how they wrote them. For obvious reasons.

18. T-zero – Italo calvino
see one.

19. Zen in the art of Archery

20. The caretaker and the dumbwaiter – Harold Pinter

21. The Dharma Bums – Jack Keroac

22. The Call of Cthulu and other Dark Tales – H.P. Lovecraft

23. Making Comics – Scot McCloud

24. World War Z – Max Brooks
Done. Decided to try to read something contemporary to tap into some zeitgeist and it far exceeded my expectations.

25. SuicideGirls Issue 2 – various
Interviews with chuck palahniuk, Neil Labute, Dave Mamet, Zack Snyder, Kinky Friedman, Zach Galifanakais, and Terry Giliam

26. Waiter Rant – the waiter
Done

27. Writing Movies – Gotham
Started for class and never finished

28. The wind in the willows – Kennith Grahme
Need to get back to some classic children’s stories.

29. Only Revolutions – Mark Z. Danielewski
From the author of another one of my top tens, House of Leaves.

30. The Halloween Tree – Ray Bradbury
Remember watching the movie as a kid. I had no idea it was a book, let alone written by a Sci-fi Legend.

31. Hell’s Angels РHunter S. Thompson

32. The amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – Michael Chabon
The book was lent to me by a friend and I hope to have it read before my next trip to Texas.

33. The Once and Future King – T.H. White
A favorite of the ‘monk’ who shows up in my Daily Droppings.

34. Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie

35. House of Mystery Volume 2 – Matthew Sturges
Done. Met this guy at a con. Probably my favorite series currently in production.

36. ¬†On Stories –¬†Richard Kearney

37. Lolita – Vladamir Nabokov

39. Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

40. The Real thing – Tom Stoppard

41. Communicating Doors – Alan Aykborne

42. Three Days of Rain – Richard Greenberg

43. True west – Sam Shepard

44. The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie
The second “big scary monster”

45. White Noise – Don Delillo
Started this one all the way back in highschool and never finished it.

46. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
Done

47. All the Pretty Horses – Cormac McCarthy
Done

48. No Country For Old Men – Cormac McCarthy
Done

49. Art By Committee – Charna Halpern
A follow to Truth in Comedy.  

50. Stardust – Neil Gaimen

52. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

53. The Commitments – Roddy Doyle

54. Seize the Day – Saul Bellow

56. Truth in Comedy – Del Close
Done

58. The Body Artist – Don Delillio

The following books are in audio format.

1. The Crossing – Cormac McCarthy

2. Cities of the Plains – Cormac McCarthy

3. Children of the Mind – Orson Scott Card

4. Xenocide – Orson Scott Card

5. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles – Haruki Murakami

6. A Scanner Darkley -Phillip K. Dick

7. Shadow of the Giant – Orson Scott Card

8. The Naked Lunch РWilliam S Burroughs

9. American Gods – Neil Gaiman
Oh and this final bit. Another top tenner here.  Neil Gaiman is releasing a 10th anniversary edition of the thing that is extended by 12,000 words and it be released alongside a full cast recording of the thing. I was so excited when the news came out last month I sat down and read almost half the thing before deciding I wanted to save the experience for when the new edition came out.

10. The Graveyard Book (read by the author)!
Done!

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