What To Read?

So I finished The Known World by Edward P. Jones last night and now have to pick my next book! This is always a huge ordeal for me, not only because I already have 50 plus books that I've purchased that I have yet to read, but because I have to be in the mood to read books and you never know if you're in the mood to read a certain book until you start. For example, I picked up and tried to read She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb two times and just couldn't get into it. The third time I tried I Really got into it and absolutely loved it. So I guess there's nothing to do but trial and error. I am going to attempt to finish The Sound and the Fury by Faulkner first. I only have about 100 pages left, I'd gotten stuck at the end of Quentin's section. He was so crazy and I was reading it when I was still pretty new at my job (and therefore exhausted and drained when I came home at night) that it was too much work for me to follow, so I set it aside for some easier reads. The hubs has a baseball game tonight, so hopefully I can finish it tonight, and then I'll really have to pick my next book.

I've narrowed it down to three: The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (or Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy... I haven't quite decided what Tolstoy I'd go with). I'm also going on vacation next week with a long car trip (not that I can read in cars without getting sick, but that doesn't stop me from trying!) and I wanted a good hefty book to last me through the trip. Any suggestions from those choices? I'm definitely in the mood for classic and meaningful literature. The Known World was fabulous (isn't that such a grandiose word?) and it'll be hard to follow up. Funny mental image, can you image me laying on the beach with a big hard copy of Tolstoy's War and Peace propped up on me knee? Now that's what I call summer reading!


Sandra Ruttan said...

Would you believe there are about 30 books on my tbr pile?

It's insane. Good luck choosing. Faulkner is a compelling read, a very unique style all his own, though it does require a mental focus much fiction doesn't demand of you - at least, that's how I find it.

Derek J. Rogers said...

I vote for Song of Solomon. Along with Beloved, it is one of Toni Morrison's best books. If you want to read a Russion, have you considered Crime and Punishment or The Brothers Karamazov? The latter is quite philisophical. There are reports that several famous philosophers were reading Dostoyevsky when they were developing their ideas.

mai wen said...

My mother also highly reccomends The Brothers Karamazov, though she only has a copy in Chinese, and despite my years of studying, I'm not that proficient in Chinese to read it! I'll have to go out and get it though. I have Crime and Punishment but have not read it yet (as with many of the books I own!) Do you suggest it over Tolstoy? I have read Nabokov(Lolita) but of course that wasn't translated, so I am pretty green as in Russian literature. I was mostly torn between Tolstoy and Morrison, I've been meaning to get to both of the authors for some time. I think I just may take your advice and go for Morrison. Have you read Paradise? I have that novel as well and haven't read it. :) Are you noticing a trend here...

Thanks for your advice!

Derek J. Rogers said...

Regarding Toni Morrison, I've read many of her earlier works (The Bluest Eyes, Sula, and Jazz) in addition to Beloved and Song of Solomon. Unfortunately, I cannot comment on Paradise, though the reviews are intriguing. As for the Russians, I could never get into Tolstoy. It's a shortcoming of mine. Keep in mind that with the Russians you are dealing with translations. I'd go with Morrison. Her prose is magical and superb, and reading her work is like taking a class on creative expression.

As for the theme of books on shelves that are unread... I know that theme. Well. I have to be in the right frame of mind to read certain books.

If no one has recommended it, put Razor's Edge by W. Sumerset Maugham on your list. It is a book that sticks with you.

Lisa Rose-Schell said...

I loved Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. Both of them are great. But Song of Solomon was wonderful too. So many books so little time. If you like Russian authors you might try Chechov too. I am with Sandra, there are at leas 23 books on my pile.


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