Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Theme reading

If I were to stop buying books (and yes, I still feel saturated in books) and checking out books (three holds waiting for pickup), I could have fun with the books I already own. I could do theme reading for the rest of the year.

I could return to Rebecca West.
The Harsh Voice.
The Thinking Reed
The Fountain Overflows
The Birds Fall Down
This Real Night
Cousin Rosamund

I could spend several weeks on Southern literature.
Wise Blood. Flannery O'Connor
The Violent Bear It Away. Flannery O'Connor
Collected Stories. Flannery O'Connor
The Unvanquished. William Faulkner
Go Down Moses. William Faulkner
Thirteen Moons. Charles Frazier
The Golden Apples. Eudora Welty
Move Over, Mountain. John Ehle
Off For the Sweet Hereafter. T.R. Pearson

I could finish all the classics on my "13 Classics to Read in 2007" list (three down at this point).

I could read all the books on my Reading Across Boundaries list.

I could have a Thomas Hardy month.
Far From the Madding Crowd
Two on a Tower
The Woodlanders
The Mayor of Casterbridge
Selected Poems
Claire Tomalin's bio

I could concentrate on nonfiction.
The Omnivore's Dilemma. Michael Pollan
Misquoting Jesus. Bart Ehrman
The Human Touch. Michael Frayn
The River of Doubt. Candice Millard
Monsieur Proust. Celeste Albaret
Freethinkers. Susan Jacoby
and many others

I could focus on Ships at Sea for awhile.
Patrick O'Brian
Beat to Quarters. C.S. Forester
This Thing of Darkness. Harry Thompson
The Voyage of the Beagle. Charles Darwin

The Willow Field. William Kittredge
Butcher's Crossing. John Williams
Angle of Repose. Wallace Stegner
The Big Rock Candy Mountain. Wallace Stegner
Dancing at the Rascal Fair. Ivan Doig
This House of Sky. Ivan Doig
Liar's Moon. Philip Kimball
The Crossing. Cormac McCarthy

Have a Go-to-the-Devil month.
The Master and Margarita. Mikhail Bulgakov
Dr. Faustus. Christopher Marlowe
The Testament of Gideon Mack. James Robertson
Paradise Lost. John Milton

Complete the Fairy Tale/Fantasy Challenge.
The Ladies of Grace Adieu. Susanna Clarke
Dogsbody. Diana Wynne Jones
Anansi Boys. Neil Gaiman
April Witch. Majgull Axelsson
Summerland. Michael Chabon

Or I could just read books totally at whim within or without these parameters.

I could. Really.


  1. Anonymous9:52 AM

    No matter how saturated I feel--and I often feel the same way, I still keep buying. I have at least three gift certificates at home (of not too shabby amounts on them), which I feel compelled to use. I am trying to ration them and wait as there will be loads of things this summer. I think I may have to splurge on The Terror, though...and a few other things. It's funny now when I order from Amazon, though, I don't go as crazy as I used to as I find myself being much more selective. I love this theme idea...I could come up with a few as well!

  2. I'm trying to wait until at least May before I buy anything else. It feels strange not to spend my gift certificates as soon as I get 'em, but I do need to be more selective. And since there's nothing out there right now that I feel I have to read the very moment I recieve it, and I'm so out of shelf space these days, it doesn't make sense to continue buying like it's my last chance to hoard against the coming book famine.

  3. Anonymous10:31 AM

    Right that's it. I now have to hunker down with my own tbr list and organise it into themes. This is irresistible.

  4. Anonymous11:37 AM

    If only the publishing industry would freeze for a few months.

    PS, Wise Blood is fantastic, but if I were you I'd skip Go Down, Moses and just go for The Wild Palms.

  5. If only TIME would freeze for a few months so that we could catch up!

    I want to make a themed list of my TBR now too, that's right up my alley.

  6. :) Thanks for the list of possibilities for the Fairy Tale/Fantasy Challenge! My list just keeps growing for this one...

    I'm ignoring your other lists for the moment; I really am.

  7. You are one brave woman to put it all out there, just like that. I recently bought a book that I had already read from the library and now I want to own it for reference purposes. I have to ask, can I count it as reading a book that I already own? Thus helping to fulfill my reading goal for the year of getting to the stuff I own rather than just reading library books--damn those due dates!

  8. I have devised a well thought out way of figuring out what to read next...whatever book is literally on top of the pile of books in my closet that I haven't read yet. A little too scientific, I know, but one has to have a methodical reading schedule.

  9. Anonymous4:10 PM

    Love your theme lists. I could put together several of my own but then I'd have to confront the reality of all those books I bought and planned to read right away and haven't and thus making me too ashamed to even think about planning a trip to the used bookstore which I haven't been to in a a whole month!

  10. Anonymous5:39 PM

    I've got so many books laying around that I either haven't read yet or didn't finish. Yet, I keep getting new books.

    You might like the Reading & Books Forum.

  11. I could do the themes too; I have tons of books on my TBR shelves, and yet I just mooched another one ... sigh.

  12. I should just open my own branch of a local library, with my TBR books alone!

    Well, you've got plenty of great reading ahead. Pick a pile, any pile!

  13. Very fun post. Loved the grouping into themes. Since I've been bookmooching, I have many more in the mystery genre than I used to. One area I don't think I own any books in is westerns. Not a favorite genre.

  14. Anonymous3:39 PM

    This is so great. Makes me want to run off and do the same with my many books waiting to be read. But, I know in the end I just end up reading at whim :)

  15. Well, I'm off to do themes now! What fun...(humming contentedly)

  16. Anonymous5:19 PM

    Theme reading is a great idea! I got in the habit last year of discovering a new author and then reading a few of their books back to back. This year I have been doing it with Philip Roth and it is great to see how you can slowly begin to identify their recurring patterns and themes.

  17. Anonymous7:01 PM

    Oh yes, I can relate - and I'm off tomorrow to a library book sale to add even more books to my TBR shelves!

    A gentle madness indeed ...


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