What I'm Reading in 2016

I like lists because I like collections. I like collections because they bring order to the world, draw connections between things you might not of realized before, help you remember things, and they look pretty. I have countless lists of books saved in my bookmarks list, random word docs, and journals. I really do want to read them all, and Goodreads community lists are a very dangerous area for me.

I had a goal of reading all the Man Booker Prize winners, and I was making progress on it before the prize was opened up to be international. Now that it’s international, I’m less interested… what’s the special connecting theme about that collection?

I watched a TED Talk by Ann Morgan about her year of reading a book from every country in the world. And though for the past year I have been thinking about intentionally choosing books that were written a diversity of authors, her project and subsequent list was very inspiring.

I also became interested in reading the books on Wikipedia’s list of banned books. This list is inherently diverse because it includes authors from around the world, many of them writing from a minority’s perspective, and many of them expose political or religious abuses. Yes, some of the books really are hate speech or similarly unhelpful to the world, but that’s the nature of the collection. I think I want to stretch it out and read one book a month, starting this year.

Take a look at the following list of books or films and try to guess what they have in common.
  • Monty Python’s Flying Circus
  • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
  • A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • On the Road (2012 film)
  • Vanity Fair (magazine)

They all make Proust references! Proust references flourish, as many a smug article comments, but it makes me wonder: Have all of these people who casually throw around the word Proust actually read In Search of Lost Time in its entirety? Do I know anyone in real life who has read it? Will I understand many other books better if I read it?

I’m guessing the answers are: No, no, and yes.

But the fact that so many books who reference Proust have stayed with me makes me think that I need to push past my fear of not understanding big books (2015 was a year of conquering that fear! What with Anna Karenina and The Fountainhead) and give him a solid try.

It takes about 60 pages per week to read the whole of In Search of Lost Time in a year, which really is not much for me. I’ve also read that he makes a ton of references to visual art and music, so I want to Google that sort of thing while I’m reading. I’d like to give updates throughout the year on this blog: reflections, pop culture stuff, anything interesting that turns up in the course of my reading and internetting. I promise nothing too dense or scholarly, but I am still a nerd at heart.

Proust, banned books, and the Bible will be my 2016. So, my blog's tagline of "snippy reviews of mostly YA lit" is deff going to have to go. Onward!

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