I am halfway there! Isn’t that amazing? I think it’s amazing…then again I’m the one trying to detox myself from buying books. You might also think it’s amazing. Then again, you might also think I never should’ve been buying that many books to begin with. And you’d be right.
No matter your personal judgment of me (or my book-buying/mental state), here is another picture of one of my to-be-read shelves:
1. Bluebeard’s Egg and Other Stories by Margaret Atwood
2. The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
3. Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood
4. The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood
5. Surfacing by Margaret Atwood
6. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
7. Dancing Girls by Margaret Atwood
8. Lady Susan, The Watsons, and Sanditon by Jane Austen
9. A Wonderful Welcome to Oz by L. Frank Baum
10. The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius
11. The Awakening and Selected Stories by Kate Chopin
12. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
13. The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
14. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
15. Room by Emma Donoghue
16. Notes From The Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky
17. The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides
18. Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman
19. Howards End by E.M. Forster
20. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
21. The Story of Britain by Rebecca Fraser
22. Sex with the Queen: 900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers, and Passionate Politics by Eleanor Herman
23. The Iliad & The Odyssey by Homer
24. The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England from 1811-1901 by Kristine Hughes
25. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
26. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
27. Just an Ordinary Day by Shirley Jackson
28. Novels of Virginia Woolf: Fact and Vision by Alice Van Buren Kelley
29. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
30. Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
31. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
This shelf of books is a little different. First, they’re alphabetized. That’s usually how I organize all of my bookshelves. My previously-blogged TBR piles are largely disorganized; they’re a hodgepodge of books, authors, genres, etc. This shelf, however, is more organized, and also more, well, literary than the piles I discussed previously. It also contains more books. These books, really, are where my heart is, and where my heart has been for years. I love British history, I love literature; I love learning about and teaching about both. With only one more shelf to go after this one, I think you might finally be able to start solidifying your thoughts on me as a reader, and maybe as a person. Funny how seeing a person’s books do that, right?
Anyway, here goes the usual booksplaining.
All the Atwood: Well, if you read my previous post, you know I love Atwood and want to be her when I grow up. Here are more of her books that I have and plan to read because, well, to be thoroughly repetitive, she’s awesome. Also, these books are all here thanks to my mother-in-law’s book purge. I owe her so much. I would also love it if she came to Denver at some point so I can beg her to sign all of my books.
Lady Susan, The Watsons, and Sanditon is the only book of Austen’s I have not read. A few years ago, I took a Jane Austen short course through Oxford’s Continuing Education Department. The course was a six-week, intensive study of Austen’s major novels. I loved it. Even if, for almost every weekend during that six-week course, my life looked like this:
Of course, given my literary action figure shelf, I would love something like that, right? Right.
I think A Wonderful Welcome to Oz is required reading for anyone who grew up watching The Wizard of Oz and wants to know the whole story. I will admit, though, to being even more curious about the “real” story after reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire. No shame in that, I guess. Intellectual/literary curiosity is still curiosity, and curiosity is good.
The Consolation of Philosophy is on my shelf as a result of my
obsession fascination with Queen Elizabeth I. During my reading of the many books I have about her (on another shelf I have not captured in a photo yet), I learned that she was responsible for one of the earliest translations of Boethius’s work. And then curiosity and my favorite used book store happened. Unfortunately, there it still sits, unread.
I have The Awakening and Selected Stories because Kate Chopin. Do I really need more of a reason than that?
In an effort to read all of the books on one of those “Top 100 Books” lists (which, by the way, are never consistent), I procured Heart of Darkness. I know some say it is a difficult book to get through, and I know that I would probably find it enlightening since I’ve read (and taught) Things Fall Apart, and Achebe’s response to Conrad’s novel. But. So many books, so little time. Literally. I really do have too many books to read.
The Inheritance of Loss is here courtesy of my mother-in-law purging her bookshelves. I actually know nothing about this book, nor do I know anything about the author. I know Google is always there for that, but at the moment, given the sheer number of books I have to read, I feel comfortable waiting to find out. Unless some reader would like to enlighten me.
Bleak House: I have a problem with Charles Dickens. I’ll admit it. In the ninth grade, we read Great Expectations. Well, maybe my classmates read the whole thing, because I have no memory of finishing, other than the memory of the realization that I did not like Dickens’ writing one bit. I attempted, somewhat recently, to read David Copperfield. I thought that, perhaps, as an adult, I would find some redeeming quality in him I’d missed as a fourteen-year-old. It didn’t go well. I didn’t finish the book. I took it back to the used book store. However, based on the strong recommendation of my Twitter acquaintance Benjamin Dreyer, I decided to give Bleak House a try. He says it’s Dickens’ best work. We shall see.
I bought Room because I heard it was great. That’s as far as we’ve gotten together. Somehow, the premise doesn’t quite appeal to me. I should take this one to the used book store, but I am loath to give up books that I might actually read someday…is that so terrible of me?
Notes From the Underground is here because I rescued it from my mother-in-law’s book purge. I have already read The Brothers Karamazov, and let’s just say I was pleased to see how spare this book is after reading the prosecutor’s argument, etc. Incidentally, I read The Brothers Karamazov because my husband (then my boyfriend) and I were competing to see who had read/could read more of the “100 Greatest Books Of All Time.” While I can’t find the list we were using online, I do have a copy of it stashed away somewhere. I’ll see if I can find it.
The Marriage Plot: I loved The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex, and this was in The Bookworm, so I picked it up. You know the rest of the story.
Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire, The Story of Britain, Sex with the Queen, and The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England from 1811-1901: I love reading about British history. I might have said that already. I have a set of built-in bookshelves in the basement (my dad made them for me) and there is a shelf just for history about Elizabeth I, Henry VIII, and the Tudor era in general. British history has always been more interesting to me than American history…because it is. So there.
Howards End and A Passage to India: Classic novels both, and I have them because they are classics. Courtesy of The Bookworm. I will read them someday.
The Iliad & The Odyssey I’ve read parts of throughout my school/college/teaching years, but never quite made it all the way through either one. I have to finish them at some point.
Never Let Me Go is here because it was a recommendation—from whom, I cannot remember. It also happened to be in my mother-in-laws purge pile, so I grabbed it to add to my shelf.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle and Just An Ordinary Day: In high school, we of course read Jackson’s short story “The Lottery.” What high school student (at least on the east coast) doesn’t? I was never really curious about the rest of Jackson’s oeuvre until recently, thanks again to Twitter and Benjamin Dreyer. I am looking forward to reading both of these books—I am quite interested in seeing more of her as a writer than just what I saw as a teenager reading “The Lottery.”
Novels of Virginia Woolf: Fact and Vision: Who doesn’t like literary criticism? Probably a lot of people. But I do; in addition to reading literature, I also love reading about literature. I have tons of books about Shakespeare, not just plays by Shakespeare, books about Austen, etc. Reading about the literature—and authors—I read is a way for me to learn more. I like learning more.
I’m going to be honest and say that the only reason I really have Lady Chatterley’s Lover is because of this clip from Mad Men (which I was attempting to watch at one point but fell so far behind I gave up):
Bring up the Bodies and Wolf Hall: In addition to loving British history, I also love novelizations of British history, and, shall we say, “history-based” re-imaginings like The Tudors. I got these from, of course, The Bookworm.
Well, there we are. This list about as many books as my two previous lists altogether. I’m not buying books for a long time.
Stay tuned for another to-be-read shelf list…and then we’ll move on to my book wish list! As always, if you have recommendations or suggestions for pairings, please do let me know.