Making a reading list

I’ve been thinking a lot about reading lately. In our summer cleaning/simplification, Wes and I have traded about 50 books in to the local used bookstore for credit. We have quite a lot now, and it’s a little overwhelming. Each time we go with another load of books, I wander around and look at things, not sure what I want. You see, as a recovering English major, I don’t have much of a personality as a reader. It’s something I’m a little embarrassed about, and a lot sad about. Since graduating college, I’ve read a bit here and there, but this sardonic view from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal hits a little too close to home.


Since leaving Portland, I’ve read more and more. Now that we’re settled in Charleston (read: settled into a routine that happens to be located in Charleston), I read regularly before bed, on the weekends, and on my lunch breaks. Aside from devouring field guides, non-fiction instructional books, and artsy books (Worn Stories by Emily Spivack is fantastic!), which are all small-dose books we keep in the bathroom for “incidental reading,” I’ve finished several great books in the last couple months since moving here. Most notable were The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx, and the PD James mystery I wrote about a few weeks ago. Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott was not amazing, but I enjoyed it for what it was. I started a somewhat bizarre young adult novel by Ransom Riggs called Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which I will likely finish although it’s not one of those YA novels that adults can suspend their disbelief enough to enjoy. At least, I don’t think I can. Currently on my nightstand are Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies and E. Annie Proulx’s Accordian Crimes, but I have no opinions on them yet.

So, friends, I am taking suggestions for an adult reading list. I prefer contemporary writers, I think, and probably novels, but most of what I picked up was from vague recollections of NPR book reviews or the interesting names of authors from my mom’s reading list that somehow stuck with me. So many of my reading brainwaves were inhabited by Romantic poetry and Shakespeare, which were good and helpful and interesting, but I want more beyond that narrow and arbitrarily-categorized region of knowledge.

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4 thoughts on “Making a reading list

  1. Carson McCullers–“The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”.
    MUST. If you haven’t already.

    I’ll think of some other things too, but the above is one that simply everyone must read. xo

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  2. Have you read any Pat Conroy? I am re-reading “South of Broad.” It fell off the shelf the other day! That would be Broad of Charleston, South Carolina. 🙂

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  3. So I don’t know who wrote it, but if you enjoy laughing for the duration of a book, you have to read Marley and Me. It was one of the 4 books I’ve read since adulthood, and I remember crying in an airport (I mostly read when I travel) from laughing so hard. The movie was NO indication of how good the book is. But you must be a dog lover to get it.

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