Saturday, August 22, 2009

Weekly Geeks (August 22, 2009)

Weekly Geeks is a weekly event that presents a theme (such as "redecorate your blog week" or "organize your challenges" week or "catch up on your reviews" week) each week. Here is this week's theme:

I think just about every reader has a least one book that they've been meaning to read for awhile (months or even years) but, for one reason or another, they just haven't gotten around to it. Maybe it's a book a friend recommended last year, or a title you've flirted with in a bookstore on more than one occasion, or maybe it's a book that's sitting right there on your bookshelf, patiently waiting for you to pick it up -- but the thought is always there, in the back of your mind: Why haven't I read this yet?

This week, tell us about a book (or books) you have been meaning to read. What is it? How long have you wanted to read it? And, why haven't you read it yet?

Like many who love to read, I have literally hundreds of books sitting on my shelves that are waiting to be read. I have my reasons (or excuses) for not having read each of them; somehow, these justifications come into play whenever I "need" to buy yet another book. A particularly large percentage of these to-be-read books are what could be termed new, future classics: books that have been published in this decade, have won awards or received critical acclaim, and are often by newer authors. I keep buying them, but when I go to my bookcases to pick a new book, I almost invariably choose something a half-century old.

Three books in particular mock me every time I pass them over: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001; The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, which won the National Book Award in 2001 and was included on Time's list of the 100 best English-language novels; and Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, lauded by famous authors and important critics alike. These books are obviously worth reading, and I want to read them, so why don't I?

A large part rests with my absurd suspicion of new books, particularly ones that are widely praised. I don't have a terribly good reason for this suspicion. Yes, I have read a number of such books that I absolutely hated, but I've read an equal number that I've loved, like Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. (Of course, I only read those books because I'd already read and loved earlier books by Eugenides and McCarthy, but still.) If I get to the point of actually reading a new book instead of just staring at it on the shelf, I do go into it with an open mind and a fervent desire that this book will be a new favorite, which is how I always read.

I think that I need to start my own reading challenge: Books That You Want To Read, And Should Read, But Don't. No challenge book will be older than my ten-year-old niece.


  1. Welcome to Weekly Geeks!

    I have Kavalier and Clay and Everything is Illuminated on my shelves, also waiting to be read.

  2. Sounds like a good challenge. I tried Everything Is Illuminated but didn't like it. My post is here.

  3. I gave Everything is Illuminated a try but I just couldn't get into it at all. It's just one of those very few books I gave up on. It just didn't make sense to me at all. Hopefully you'll like it better.

  4. I really liked Everything is Illuminated, but I've recently read a few reviews that didn't. I thought it was really clever and really funny. I liked Safron Foer's second book even better though: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Here's my review of that one:

  5. gautami tripathy:

    You must read Marquez! He is absolutely incredible; One Hundred Years of Solitude never fails to blow my mind every time I reread it.


    I've heard that about Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and your review has convinced me to pick it up (as though I needed more books!).

  6. I didn't like Everything is Illuminated all that much either!

    I do have the Chabon on my TBR list to get to one day. Goodness only knows when that will happen though!