according to science the average american reads about 15 books a year. since the advent of ebooks this number has increased dramatically, as it used to be in the 3 to 4 range. so all you ereader naysayers, perhaps the focus should be on whether people are reading more, and less on the delivery of the medium? (author’s note: “according to science” might be my favorite meaningless phrase in the english language and i’ve always wanted to use it)
i average about 20 to 30 books a year. assuming i live an average length life, that’s somewhere in the range of 2000 books in a lifetime, and doesn’t that just seem an awfully small number for an entire life?
i’ve decided to attempt to read 52 books this year (2013), 1 a week for the entire year. along with steadily becoming an avid runner, i want to further embrace my true love of reading. i’ve devised a rather structured approach to this plan in the form of a reading list. if i kept to this schedule my lifetime consumption of books would be somewhere in the 4000 range (this still seems terribly low, but a vast improvement!)
now before i go on, i can feel you thinking ‘but alexander won’t this rigid schedule suck the joy out of reading?’ and my answer is you could be right. but i know i want to read more, and i know, as with running, unless i have a schedule or a goal in place it’s so easy to get distracted. so we’ll see what happens.
and the 2nd “before i go on”, i’m sure there are individuals out there who read far more than i’m setting out to read and before you let me know this fact let me preemptively say, good for you, i don’t care.
my thought in posting this list addresses my secondary goal for this project which is to find more people to talk with about books. i’ve never been part of a book club and i’m not sure i’d necessarily enjoy that format of scheduled reading, but with this, if someone has an inclination to finish a book at the same time as myself then hooray, we can discuss said book, and be friends forever! i’ll be writing weekly thoughts on each of the books as i finish them and look forward to anyone’s thoughts on the books.
so here goes, the dates listed are the scheduled date to be finished. this is only the first half of the year, 26 books, this will accommodate potential interesting book releases in the coming year that can be added to the latter 26. i’m also open to any recommendations and (less so) to proscriptive interventions.
january 7th – state of wonder by ann patchett (already in the midst of reading)
january 14th – the savage detectives by roberto bolaño (already in the midst of reading)
january 21st – red sorghum by mo yan
january 28th – seven houses in france by bernard atxaga
february 4th – billy lynn’s long halftime walk by ben fountain
february 11th – the glass castle by jeannette walls
february 18th – the garden of evening mists by tan twan eng
february 25th – the ghost map by steven johnson
march 4th – the little stranger by sarah waters
march 11th – the orphan master’s son by adam johnson
march 18th – marks of identity by juan goytisolo
march 25th – the night circus by erin morgenstern
april 1st – the marriage plot by jeffrey eugenides
april 8th – the book of ebenezer le page by g. b. edwards
april 15th – silence by shusaku endo
april 22nd – great house by nicole krauss
april 29th – the war of the end of the world by mario vargas llosa
may 6th (my birthday!) – american pastoral by philip roth
may 13th – oryx and crake by margaret atwood
may 20th – kafka on the shore by haruki murakami
may 27th – interpreter of maladies by jhumpa lahiri
june 3rd – pilgrim at tinker creek by annie dillard
june 10th – telegraph avenue by michael chabon
june 17th – never let me go by kazuo ishiguro
june 24th – a visit from the goon squad by jennifer egan
july 1st – the finkler question by howard jacobson