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. 


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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! 


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

Christine J. Schmidt

Column by Christine J. Schmidt

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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Brian Dunn's picture
Brian Dunn from Phoenix, AZ is reading multiple things January 27, 2015 - 5:49pm

I'll be your Infinite Jest reading buddy. Just started it this week, only two chapters in, and the footnotes haven't reared their head but once or twice thus far. Catch up with me and we'll go on this post-modern roller coaster of emotions together!

EDIT: I'm through chapter three and just polished off chapter four. Don't let me get too far ahead.

Josh Zancan's picture
Josh Zancan from Crofton, MD is reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck January 27, 2015 - 12:37pm

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is in my top 5. Read it when I was sixteen and it took me a couple months. It's not that long, but it's a book worth reading slowly. Also, my adolescent mind needed that much time to process it as I read. Wonderful experience.

Tom1960's picture
Tom1960 from Athens, Georgia is reading Blindness by Jose Saramago January 27, 2015 - 7:20pm

Move number 8 to the top of your list, it is incredible! Then again, so are all the books on your list (except Infinite Jest. DFW was a great writer but not such a good story teller).

Brian Dunn's picture
Brian Dunn from Phoenix, AZ is reading multiple things January 27, 2015 - 9:38pm

Don't try to take away my Infinite Jest reading buddy, Tom1960. Christine, he knows not what he types.

Christine J. Schmidt's picture
Christine J. Schmidt from Los Angeles, CA January 27, 2015 - 10:21pm


I am not prepared to start! I still need to get my hands on a copy and finished a Saunders collection before I even think about diving in. Good to hear it's going well for you so far, though!

Brian Dunn's picture
Brian Dunn from Phoenix, AZ is reading multiple things January 28, 2015 - 10:11am

Christine, you're breaking my heart. It's okay, though. I'll press on.

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading a lot more during the quarantine January 28, 2015 - 7:55pm

I've read two out of your ten, and the big one on my list as well is Infinite Jest. Got about 80 pages in during my younger days. I'll give it another shot eventually.

Deets999's picture
Deets999 from Connecticut is reading Adjustment Day January 29, 2015 - 8:27am

I've read the first 8 - have not caught 9 or 10 yet.

One Hundred Years and Amazing Adventures would be the one's I recommend you bump to the top of the list.

I feel your pain about Infinte Jest - crossed that one off my list last year. Very glad I read it, but certainly a challenge.

Feel free to drop Goon Squad off - totally overated, but I might just be biased because I use power point for work everyday (when you read it, you'll know what I mean).

Happy reading, Deets

Keith's picture
Keith from Phoenix, AZ is reading Growing Up Dead in Texas by Stephen Graham Jones January 29, 2015 - 9:20am

I can't tell you how often I've tried and failed to read One Years Of Solitude. The best of luck to you.