In early 2012 I decided to chronicle the books I read. I began to call the chronicling the book project. A cute little name for what I soon realized was just anxiety I have about chronicling things. I talk about that anxiety ad nauseam here.
I have to say, the book project has been pretty wonderful. It’s been a pretty wonderful way to chronicle the year.* It’s been wonderful, and until the last month of 2012, stress free, too.
I just finished a book of short stories by Edward P. Jones with about a week left in December, just under the 2012 wire. I’ll write about that book soon…I’m a bit conflicted about it…surprise, surprise. I also realized I need to throw in the damn towel on one particular book that at first, I couldn’t stop talking about. Here comes the stress. Yes, I’m referring to Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow. It was riveting to learn about the way our brain makes choices, and about Kahneman’s career over the years…but after about two chapters worth of prospect theory, and all its derivatives, I got bored. I just couldn’t care. Me, the person who finishes all books, driven by stubbornness to complete each book with comprehension. I ended things at about page 289, chapter 27.
I immediately felt better once I decided to discontinue my relationship with Mr. Kahneman. No guilt, and the stress just lasted as long as it takes to freak out about taking off a band-aid before you actually do it.
I mentioned that the Workout Buddy put together his next batch of books to read, prompting me to do the same. And here they are: a book on World War II (after reading Unbroken, I wanted to check out more WWII writings); a book on Fidel (Cuba is a big interest of mine); a Naipaul only because it’s been too long since I’ve read some Naipaul…if you haven’t read Naipaul, I highly recommend it. It’s an experience I’ve never had before…the way he creates these amazing sentences, so thick with meaning and history, and time; some French poetry; and The Life of Pi to touch on the theme of animal philosophy I picked up on while reading Elizabeth Costello. The Workout Buddy told me a great story of how Yann Martel signed this particular book. Wonderful story, in which, upon concluding the story I asked, as I’ve had to ask many other times, “that’s so awesome…does that mean I can’t use this particular copy to read?” “…no.”
The other books laying on their side are potential 2013 books. I’ve not made up my mind if I want to read them or not. I mean, Freedom could take up a large chunk of 2013…and I just read The Corrections in 2011–again, a book I highly recommend. Like Franzen, I’m not sure if I’m ready to read another Douglas Coupland novel…I can just continue to reference him semi-frequently…
I also just started reading [Sic] by Joshua Cody…maybe I’ll add him to the list. 2013 is going to be a good reading year…we’ll see how far into these selections I get.
* This particular sentence is said in the voice of a professor of mine from undergrad reading from Hemingway’s short story, The Killers: “The door of Henry’s lunchroom opened and two men came in. They sat down at the counter. ‘What’s yours?’ George asked them. ‘I don’t know,’ one of the men said. ‘What do you want to eat, Al?’ ‘I don’t know,’ said Al. ‘I don’t know what I want to eat.'” Now, of course none of you will know how this professor read this particular passage…I will have to demonstrate for you when I see you…it’s clearly the only way…If only I knew how to insert audio…