One of my “43 things to do in year 43” is to list ten books I want to read and read them. It may seem superfluous, since I read many more than ten books every year, but I wanted to be a little more deliberate, and also to specify fiction or poetry. I read lots of non-fiction and want to feed my imagination instead. Also, without saying so, I was excluding mysteries, since I gobble them down like peanuts but they rarely stimulate any part of my mind except the one that likes puzzles; they are a pleasant way to pass the time, and perhaps, like crossword puzzles, even make me a little smarter, but that’s all. (Gaudy Night, which I just reread–I reread all the Peter Wimsey books regularly–is a rare exception in that it gave me a lot to think about.)

The list:

A Passage to India, E. M. Forster. I’ve meant to read it since seeing the movie when it was released. I just finally did (since drafting this post, so I’ll keep it on the 43/43 list), and am now gobbling down Forster. Therefore:

Howards End, E. M. Forster READ 9/17 ETA I carried on with the Forsterfest and read A Room with a View, finished 9/20. It was perfect reading for Bass Lake, and I loved it. I may have to watch the movie again. Since we never got to see Alice in Wonderlnad on the big screen, we may have to just have a home Helena Bonham Carter film festival, in fact. That should make the Tim Burton fan in the family very happy.

Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman–I love Gaiman, and loved American Gods so much that I have reread it twice since Anansi Boys was published, but couldn’t get anywhere with Anansi Boys itself. I am going to give it another try.  READ March 2011. Excellent.

Self-Help, Lorrie Moore–have wanted to read this since it came out at least 10 years ago. It sounded intriguing.

Something by Margaret Atwood. Atwood is very hit-or-miss with me. The Blind Assassin, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Alias Grace immediately went onto my All-Time Favorite Works of Fiction list; Oryx and Crake was a “wow, love it” until it turned into a “well, that ended with an unsatisfying thud” (and I then discovered that she is so painfully, cluelessly disrespectful of science fiction, despite excelling at writing it, that I’ve been disinclined to read the sequel); and there have been a few, like The Robber Bride, that I just couldn’t get into at all and put down after page three. So I don’t know which of the many still-unread novels or short story collections of hers I’ll read. But I’ll try a few, knowing that there’s another Blind Assassin somewhere out there. READ Cat’s Eye 10/25. Definitely one for the “loved” column. READ The Robber Bride 10/30, having found Cat’s Eye so terrific that I was emboldened to take on one that I hadn’t liked. This time I liked it, even though it didn’t rock my world the way Cat’s Eye did.

Voices and Gifts, Ursula K. Le Guin, speaking of science fiction and people who do get it. I read the first in this trilogy, Powers, just before going to Mexico, and so the other two eluded me, but I am now home and in possession of a San Francisco Public Library card and nothing can stop me.  READ Gifts May 2011, went on a LeGuin tear, wore myself out, so am going to wait on Voices.

Whichever book someone knowledgeable recommends by John M. Ford. He wrote the poem “110 Stories” I linked to earlier today, and on searching for more by him, I was very excited to learn he was primarily a science fiction writer. I’m always looking for good ones and so seldom find any I like. He wrote some Star Trek books, and while I don’t usually read those, I don’t think I can resist one titled How Much for Just the Planet?; still, I’d like to read a stand-alone book of his. Poetry or scifi or scifi poetry all welcome. Friends, do you have a recommendation?

Beloved, Toni Morrison. I’ve never read it and I can’t imagine why not. I love Morrison. I think this is one to read via audiobook; her own reading of Sula made it so wonderful for me, and she also reads Beloved in its audio version. Not yet, but READ A Mercy, which was the Morrison audiobook I could find at the library when I got the hankering, and which was heartbreaking.

Open Closed Open, Yehuda Amichai. I don’t read much contemporary poetry, but whenever I encounter Amichai I really like him. I actually set out to buy his Selected Poetry, but the book was so badly printed that I put it back. Don’t look at me in that pitying way–I know my eyesight and hearing are getting worse, but I’m nearsighted, not farsighted, and books never give me trouble. Oh well, I’ll take it as a sign: I don’t buy collections of favorite singers’ greatest hits; I buy the albums. So I will read Amichai’s latest volume instead of his greatest hits.

ETA Zeitoun, Dave Eggers. It’s San Francisco’s 2010 One City One Book choice, so, having just moved into the city, reading it is part of my “OMG! I live in San Francisco!” celebration.  READ December or January.  Disturbing and eye-opening enough to make up for the cheap-journalism style of the writing; I’m glad I read it, and am wondering how I lived in the US during the same period that Zeitoun was locked up and had no idea this kind of thing was happening. Is it still? How would we know if it were?

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