First of all, Happy New Year, friends! And many happy returns to you and yours! Did you make any resolutions? I did, which leads us to the second thing…
Today is Day 1 of The 2012 Lovely Little Reading Challenge! I’m starting off strong with a re-read of Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh, which I have not read in a very long time. I’m excited partially about the beginning of this years reading challenge, and partially about rediscovering a book that I’m sure I didn’t fully understand the first time around.
After book one, where shall I go? I obviously haven’t pre-planned all 104 books, but there are a few books that I know for certain I must read.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Everyone I’ve ever talked to who has read this book has loved it. It’s listed over and over again as a book the will definitely be a classic. Plus, I found it for just $1.91 at a thrift store, so I have no excuse not to read it.
The Help by Katnryn Stockett. How I haven’t read this yet, I’ll never know. I’m fascinated by the story concept and all the hype of the last year. Even my mom loved it! Okay, so my mom only saw the movie. But I haven’t even done that yet! I simply cannot allow my mom to be cooler than me.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I am not exaggerating when I say I adore Russian literature, but I never had the time in college to read all the long stuff. I’m hoping to change that this year. War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and at least one solid Tolstoy biography are hopefully in line for this, my Year of Tolstoy.
The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz. Um, it’s the first Sherlock Holmes novel approved by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate ever. Do I really need to say more?
The Nazi Officer’s Wife by Edith Hahn Beer. I am enamored by the history of WWII, and this story of a Jewish woman who survived by marrying a Nazi officer has peaked my curiosity for literally years. I’m determined that this year, it will get read!
The Tiger Wife by Tea Obreht. Not only has this been on many, many “Best Books of 2011” lists, it’s the January pick for the Huffington Post’s new book club, which is free to participate in. I’m excited about this book, which sounds fascinating, but also about this book club!
Something by Toni Morrison. I’ve heard such good things about her, but she has so many books to pick from! I don’t know which book yet, and I’m open to suggestions, but I think it’s time to get over my intimidation and discover this author.
Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures by Robert Moers. I’ve read two of Moers’ Zamonia adventures, and I’m working my way through a third. (They are fantastic but long.) I hope to finish my quest through Moers incredibly series this year. If you’re looking for absolutely original, unique fantasy, I 100% recommend Moers. He’s the Lewis Carroll of our day.
Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides. I’m not afraid to read about sticky issues, but a modern hermaphrodite is a new one to me. I’ve heard it’s a great book, and even though I’m not a big Oprah fan, I have to admit that her book club picks are usually really good, so I’m going to give it a go. And I’ll probably read The Marriage Plot too.
Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls. I read The Glass Castle a few years ago, and it was truly phenomenal, so I cannot wait to read this book! (Plus, I also got this one at the bargain price of free when it was on the Barnes and Noble “Buy Two Get One Free” table. Cha-ching!)
Howls Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. A magical land with a castle that can grow legs and walk and a wizard who is under a spell and must be saved by a group of brave young sister? Did Jones write this just for me? I think she must have. This great gap in my YA fantasy knowledge must be amended ASAP.
The Kingdom of Ohio by Matthew Flaming. It’s critically acclaimed magical realism, and it involves my favorite place ever: Ohio. There is zero chance I’m skipping this one.
Grendel by John Gardner. I cannot lie: Beowulf is one of my favorite ancient texts. I have read it with relish many times since that first day in sophomore English, and I’m practically giddy at the idea of this modern retelling from the monsters point of view.
What about you, friends? What, if any, reading challenges do you plan to participate in this year? What books can you simply not wait to get your hands on in 2012?