Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Books for 2010

Debby here, and good morning. Or afternoon, depending on where you are. Some of you are having lunch. Sometimes I feel out of step with the rest of the world. Just when Rick reinforces that publishers want a series, I’m writing a stand-alone. In addition, I’m still ruminating on New Year’s goals.

So here I go again, off course. I’m going to ponder an article/list I read recently in the NYT Book Review, which interviewed a group of well-known authors about the books they’re planning to read in 2010. There are a lot of lists about the “best” of 2009, and I liked the idea of looking ahead, making plans.

Here are five books I’m going to add to my TBR pile, with a resolution to get through them. I’m going to adhere to the rule Vicki established for our Christmas list and not add any books by authors I personally know. (Though maybe we should make a list of those, too, just for fun)

Last year, I read Malcom Gladwell’s Blink and found his ideas fascinating (along with millions of other folks). It made me think about work, talent, and human nature—good things to ponder as a writer of fiction. So his new book, What the Dog Saw, is going in my 2010 library.

I’m also adding the Iliad, which I may or may not have actually read many decades ago, I can’t even remember. I do think my education in the “classics” is lacking. Literature often refers to the Iliad, particularly in terms of the “quest.” I feel as if I know scenes, but the reality is I don’t. It’s like thinking I know a good word, and finding that I’m mixing it up with another, for example, lugubrious and salubrious, which any wordsmith shouldn’t confuse.

Another book for my list is John Farmer’s Ground Truth, which got an excellent review in the NYT for providing a fresh view of what the U.S. government did after 9/11. Maybe I should be moving on from that event, but there was so much political and administrative obfuscation, I wonder if more knowledge could help prevent future fiascos. Wishful thinking, perhaps.

I missed the first Freakonomics, so I’m going to add SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner to my list. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

I’d better add some good crime fiction to this list, and this is going to push me over my list of five. I could add another five in this category alone. I mentioned in another blog how I’d just discovered Charlie Huston (See? Out of step again), but now that I’ve discovered his work, I’m a fan. Consequently, I’m adding The Mystic Arts of Erasing all Signs of Death to my list. Can’t wait!

Here’s a sixth: Iain Pear’s Stone’s Fall. I really enjoyed An Instance of the Fingerpost. It’s time to read another of Pear’s novels.

I'd better quit and get this posted. What’s on your list for 2010? I can’t wait to share ideas.


Jill Edmondson said...

A good list (and of couple of those titles are on my list as well - e.e. Gladwell).

BUT... you need to add a few mysteries ;)

One thing I have been trying to do is read some of the 'classic' crime novels. This summer I read "Crime and Punishment" and Capote's "In Cold Blood" and "The Man Who Was Thursday` Can`t believ I had missed some of these staples of mystery fare!


Charles said...

Be sure you get Robert Fagles' translation of the Iliad. I have read at least 5 different translations of that Homer and that was by far my favorite.

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

Good ideas, Jill. I don't even know The Man Who Was Thursday, and now I'll check it out.
Charles, I'll make sure about teh Fagel's translation, too.

Vicki Delany said...

I read Stone's Fall this year. It didn't make my top 5, but it is on the top 10 mysteries I posted to Mysteries in Paradise. Not as good as Instance (nothing could be) but still very good. I am currently reading In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant. I rarely read anything but mysteries or crime novels and thought I'd expand my horizons a bit. Enjoying it very much.

MTCoalhopper said...

You make a good point in regard to "Iliad." Sometimes we need to put something we read a long time ago back on the reading list. Books you already own are a lot cheaper to enjoy, too.

As often as I've seen movie versions of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" it was refreshing to read the actual story, recently.

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