Let’s Talk about Books, Baby

Two of the four places I keep my books. "Relic" bookshelf pictured. And the GG DVD case was not placed there for this picture. I've just been making my way through the seasons (again).

So I have a lot of books. It’s kind of a problem. It’s to the point where I don’t have enough space to keep them. Actually it’s been to “that point” for a while. In my senior year of college, I realized I needed a bookshelf for my apartment, so I emptied out a bookshelf on the 2nd floor of my parent’s house (my mom okayed it) and took it to my apartment, only to find out it had belonged to my great-grandmother and was essentially a relic. Once when moving it a side popped out. But it popped back in just fine.

But all that being said, I have essentially 4 places I keep my books in my apartment. And when I received all 21 books I needed for this semester (yes, 21), I stacked them up in order of reading progression beside my desk. I love reading, but I stress myself out sometimes because I can’t stop close reading and so it takes me forever. I’m way too in to detail. I think that’s why I couldn’t do Lord of the Rings, because he inundates his prose with details and it was like looking through a magnifying glass at my reading habits worsened. I read The Hobbit but, for some reason, that book was different. What happened, Tolkien?

The biggest thing I want when I have my own house is a window seat and fun bookshelves. Ok, that’s two things. But seriously, look at these. If I have to get on Extreme Makeover to get bookshelves like this, I will. That’s the lengths I’m willing to go to have a fun place to keep my books.

Two more places I keep my books, I love this desk so much it's ridiculous. It holds all my favorites (O'Connor, Lahiri, more O'Connor).

All that being said, yesterday a friend sent me this link: Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. COULD THERE BE A BETTER LIST OF THINGS IN THE UNIVERSE?! Well, maybe, yes. But for book lovers, Gilmore Girls is probably the best non-literary show when it comes to building up an impressive reading list. Plus, it puts into once place all the books the Gilmores make reference to in the show (in addition to some book versions of movies referenced).

As I’m surrounded by writers/book lovers on a daily basis, it’s easy for me to feel overwhelmed and under the impression that I’ll never read enough books to feel legit. I always feel bad when those lists go around Facebook where you’re supposed to bold how many books you’ve read. I just want to yell I’M GETTING THERE. On the docket right now, I have The God of Small Things, The Oracle of Stamboul, and Waiting for the Barbarians for the end of the semester, then The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I’ve been avoiding this book (and The Hunger Games) for a while because I hate when people tell me I “should” or “need” to read/watch something, so I end up waiting until their “fad” periods have relaxed. It took me six years to start watching “The Office” for that very reason. But anyway, I’m finally reading it because the movie preview looks awesome and I need something fun to read that I know I won’t be tested on or have to write a paper on.

A few more books hanging out with my chex mix tin.

After going through Rory Gilmore’s list, I felt a little better about myself. There’s a crap ton of books on the list, but I was able to mark a few on the have read/have attempted to read list. Ok, some of them are “should have read by nows,” but still.

Take a look. I’m not putting authors because you can find those yourself. I’m not bragging or anything either. I just like to read. I hated reading at first, actually, but this all changed after I checked out my first book in kindergarten. I don’t know what the book was, but it must have been good because I tried to hide it so I could keep it. Pretty soon my mom and I had a conversation about how a library works. When I couldn’t sleep when I was younger, I would pick up a random book from my bookshelf and read. Now when this happens I watch TV. But that’s neither here nor there.

But anyway, here goes:

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (nearly freaked out when I saw the diary on display at her annex in Amsterdam.)
  • As I Lay Dying
  • Atonement
  • The Awakening
  • The Bell Jar (most of it, Sylvia Plath is…interesting)
  • Beowulf
  • The Canterbury Tales (who hasn’t)
  • A Christmas Carol
  • The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton (a poet I actually like)
  • A Confederacy of Dunces (ok, I haven’t, but put it on here because my mom has been wanting me to read it for forever.)
  • The Crucible
  • The Da Vinci Code
  • Death of a Salesman
  • Deenie
  • The Divine Comedy
  • The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (Ya-Ya!)
  • Don Quijote (I’ve seen the musical…that counts, right?)
  • Driving Miss Daisy
  • Emma
  • The Lord of the Rings (haha…just kidding. Only made it about 50 pages in.)
  • Flowers for Algernon
  • Frankenstein
  • The God of Small Things (reading right now)
  • The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
  • The Grapes of Wrath (I love Steinbeck)
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Great Expectations (YUCK. I TRIED not to read this. Thanks 9th grade English)
  • Hamlet
  • Harry Potters (all of them…SEVERAL times)
  • Heart of Darkness (I actually can’t remember if I’ve read this or not. But I’ve read Nostromo. That counts.)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • The Illiad
  • Inferno
  • Julius Caesar
  • The Kite Runner (LOVE)
  • Little Match Girl
  • Little Women (I have the book and feel like I’ve read it because I’ve seen the movie so many times.)
  • The Lottery
  • The Lovely Bones (a must read)
  • Macbeth
  • Madame Bovary
  • Metamorphosis (again, who hasn’t)
  • Mrs. Dalloway (I only put this on here because I will NOT be reading this after reading The Waves. No no no)
  • The Namesake (YES YES YES. If you haven’t read this yet, what are you doing with your life. Must read immediately.)
  • The Nanny Diaries
  • Of Mice and Men
  • Oryx and Crake (parts, but will read the whole thing soon. LOVE The Handmaid’s Tale.)
  • Othello
  • Out of Africa (I have a really nice copy of this. It’s on my desk, but I haven’t read it yet.)
  • The Outsiders
  • A Passage to India (I thought this was going to be way more interesting. I love India. I couldn’t get through it though.)
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Pride and Prejudice (Everyone tells me to read this so, therefore, I haven’t read it.)
  • Pygmalion
  • The Raven
  • Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • The Scarlet Letter
  • Secret Life of Bees
  • A Separate Peace
  • Shakespeare Sonnets
  • The Sound and the Fury
  • A Streetcar Named Desire
  • The Sun Also Rises
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife (I have this, but the movie was so sad I may never read the book.)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin (I played Uncle Tom, too, when I was in The King & I in 10th grade. I used to do a lot of theater.)
  • The Wizard of Oz (obsessed)
  • Wuthering Heights

These are the best book pages in the universe. For those of you who don't think book edges matter, they do. They do.

I’d love to hear what anyone is reading right now, including book suggestions, book non-suggestions, thoughts in general. I have a running book list going right now for things to read when I have free time (remember free time?). It’s as follows, and let me know what should be added. Books are fun.

  • Jane Eyre
  • The Wonderful Life of Oscar Wao
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • White Teeth
  • Genealogy (written by my fiction writing professor!)
  • Border Town
  • Oryx & Crake
  • Cry, the Beloved Country
  • The Emperor’s Children
  • The Hunger Games (giving in)
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6 thoughts on “Let’s Talk about Books, Baby

  1. Katherine, the whole time I was reading this, I was thinking, “Me too!” Seriously, story of my life. My friend sent me the link to the Gilmore Girls reading list and I immediately wanted to start a book club dedicated completely to finishing that list. Also, I won’t tell you you “have to” read it, but Hunger Games is really good. One more thing: you should check out http://bookshelfporn.com/. It’s glorious.

    • oh my gosh, bookstore heaven! Thanks for the link : ) and Hunger Games will make it up there soon. One of my friends has been bugging me to read it for forever, so I’m sure he’ll count it as a victory when I finally give in.

  2. Kipp, Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood are two of the best books I read this year. I LOVE Ms. Atwood. And I’ve been meaning to say: I want to read your essay on handmaid’s tale and Never Let Me Go, 2 of my all-time fav. books. Have you read Nocturnes by Ishiguro? If not, put it on the list. I read your blog all the time, love to read about your adventures!

    • Andrea! Will def. send you the paper, I think I still have your email address! Thanks for reading! : ) And I’ve heard The Year of the Flood is excellent as well, may need to make a book purchase! : )

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