A Reading Queue for 2004

December 21, 2003 | 15 books mentioned 2 min read

I recently reorganized my bookshelves. I straightened and categorized the books, and I separated out all of the books that I haven’t read and that I hope to read sooner rather than later. These are books that I’ve bought at the store, received as gifts, and unearthed on bookfinding expeditions. There are 31 of them. For a while now, I’ve had a quite large “to read” pile, and I add titles almost every week, it seems. The problem is that stacks of books are constantly getting pushed aside while I read whatever book I’m most excited about at the moment. There’s not really anything wrong with this except that there are books that I really would like to read, but never seem to get around to it. So, since I obviously am not to be trusted, I have decided to take some of the decision making out of my hands: I have set aside a special shelf to hold my new “Reading Queue.” On it are all of the books that I own and would like to read but haven’t yet. From this shelf full of books, I will randomly select the next one to read. Before I get into that though, here’s my reading queue, some of the books that will keep me occupied during the coming year:

  1. Without Feathers by Woody Allen
  2. The Summer Game by Roger Angell
  3. Once More Around the Park: A Baseball Reader by Roger Angell
  4. Game Time: A Baseball Companion by Roger Angell
  5. An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson
  6. The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
  7. The Hole in the Flag by Andrei Codrescu
  8. Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes
  9. Paris Trout by Pete Dexter
  10. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  11. The Last Amateurs by John Feinstein
  12. A Season on the Brink by John Feinstein
  13. Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  14. Last Train to Memphis by Peter Guralnick
  15. The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard
  16. Round Rock by Michelle Huneven
  17. The Known World by Edward P. Jones
  18. Balkan Ghosts by Robert D. Kaplan
  19. Shah of Shahs by Ryszard Kapuscinski
  20. The Price of Admiralty by John Keegan
  21. Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King
  22. Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis
  23. The Coming of Rain by Richard Marius
  24. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  25. Looking for a Ship by John McPhee
  26. Moviegoer by Walker Percy
  27. Fraud by David Rakoff
  28. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat by Oliver Sacks
  29. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  30. Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson
  31. Mr. Jefferson’s University by Garry Wills

Once I had a full shelf to pick from, the only question was how to pick randomly. I thought about writing down names and picking out of hat, but that seemed like a pain, and I would have had to go look for a hat, so instead I located a random number generator to help me make my choice. I’m going back east tomorrow for two weeks, so I picked three books to take with me: Everything’s Eventual, Paris Trout, and Don Quixote. I’m guessing most folks will be pretty busy over the next couple of weeks, and so will I, so I’ll probably only post a couple of times while I’m gone. They should be good, though. Look for “My Year in Books” and a post about the books I gave as gifts. Happy Holidays, all.

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.

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