Columns > Published on January 27th, 2015

10 Books I Will Finally Read This Year

How long is your to-read list? 

Mine grows by the minute, and with so many new books being added daily, I've left some titles hanging there for years. Well, 2015 is the year I save ten of these cast-off classics. What follows is the list of books I will finally read this year. 


1. 'The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay' by Michael Chabon

I've never read Chabon. Several of his books are floating around on my bi-coastal bookshelves, but for reasons unknown, I have yet to pick one up. I may kick myself for not starting with The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, his first novel, but everyone I talk to absolutely loves The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. I mean, it won the dang Pulitzer! I'm a fan of comics, so the plot draws me in immediately. It's also quite long, and you could say I have a thing for longer novels. 

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2. 'Infinite Jest' by David Foster Wallace

Speaking of long novels...I haven't taken on Infinite Jest for a very clear reason: it scares me. When I bring it up, those who have read it breathe a sigh of remembered exhaustion, and those who haven't clench up, often saying something along the lines of, "Oh my. All those footnotes!" I've been told I should read this with at least one other person, so we can talk about it and hold one another accountable. There is even a website, infinitesummer.org, dedicated to keeping folks who dare to read Wallace's brick of a book on track. This one is half excitement, half proving to myself that I can do it.

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3. 'Lolita' by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita has long been judged by those who have not even read it. I am currently one of those shameful non-readers, and this year I intend to remedy that. Its notoriety is more than enough to draw me in, but what truly intrigues me is what I expect Nabokov's writing to be like based on what others have told me. I'm a sucker for beautiful prose, so something tells me this may end up on my list of favorites.

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4. 'Moby Dick' by Herman Melville

All that stuff about whaling. Yep, that's what kept me from 'diving' into Moby Dick. I'm still a bit skeptical, and I'm not sure I'll enjoy this one in the end. Like Infinite Jest, I may just want to prove to myself that I can get to the end. But okay, I will hold out for hope that I fall in love with Melville's masterpiece. I must go into this one optimistically if I want to survive!

[amazon 9781853260087 inline]

 

5. 'The Old Man and the Sea' by Ernest Hemingway

I have no excuse for this one. I could read it in an evening! It's sitting on my bookshelf. I can see it now. I remember the other literature class in 8th grade reading this. I think our class read The Hobbit instead (I'm definitely not complaining). I love Hemingway's short stories, but haven't attempted any of his novels. Maybe after reading this one, I will finally take the plunge into his other work. It's about time. It's been about time for a while now.

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6. 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I was obsessed with Love in the Time of Cholera when I read it a couple of years ago, so why haven't I picked this up yet? Simple. I am afraid of death by poetic language and magical realism! I don't know why, like most of my reader friends, I didn't start with One Hundred Years of Solitude. I can already tell I'll need to give this one my full attention, and like with Cholera, I'll want to enjoy it in little bites. I may even need a full month.

[amazon 9780060883287 inline]

 

7. 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being' by Milan Kundera

I'm shocked that I haven't read this book yet. It's chock full of relationships, which are my favorite part of stories. If I'm being completely honest with myself, I've been experiencing being's unbearable lightness for the past few years, and only recently have I felt some pavement beneath my feet, so maybe that's why. I've seen many a copy of The Unbearable Lightness of Being on many a bookshelf, but never actually grabbed a copy. I guess I figured it would always be there. Well, enough's enough. The next time I see a copy of this book anywhere, I'm purchasing it and finally giving it the read it deserves.

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8. 'A Visit From the Goon Squad' by Jennifer Egan

I've been told I would love this novel, but for some reason, the description on the back of the book leaves me 100% uninterested. Considering the kinds of stories I'm usually drawn to, this makes no sense. My friends have a pretty good sense of what I will enjoy, so this year I will ignore the back of the book, open it up, and most likely enjoy the heck out of it.

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9. 'Wool-Gathering' by Patti Smith

I'm actually nervous about how much I will love this little book. It's sitting on my shelf, waiting to become a prized possession. In fact, it already is! I cherish it so much, I don't dare read it! Just Kids blew me away so severely that I have been equally nervous to give it another read, even though I want to. So, in this case, I'm being held back by a fear of pleasure. This has got to stop.

[amazon 9780811219440 inline]

 

10. 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte

Some call it a love story, some call it a story of two terrible people. I have been too busy writing twisted love stories of my own to sit down and read one. I'm very much looking forward to finally taking a stab at Wuthering Heights. I don't need my characters to have redeeming qualities, and I don't need a happy ending. Wait, does this one have a happy ending? Wait, don't tell me! 

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Are any of these titles your personal favorites? What books have you been putting off for way too long? 

About the author

Christine J. Schmidt is a writer originally from New Jersey. After receiving her BFA in Dramatic Writing from SUNY Purchase, she worked at Seattle Repertory Theatre as their artistic literary intern. She recently left Brooklyn, where she was a bookseller and events host at WORD, to reside in Los Angeles. She has previously written for New York Theatre Review, and her plays have been read and produced at theaters in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Washington. Coffee is her favorite thing.

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