Sunday, January 30, 2011

The 50 Books Project

My old high school friend Brian is in town, and last night he came over for chili and Spirited Conversation, which is our specialty. We spent high school firmly entrenched on the opposite ends of the political and theological spectrums and would argue for hours over everything from the 2000 presidential candidates to whether the sky is blue. He is one of my most loyal and awesome friends, and we can talk for hours.  Last night we covered:
  • Hockey (If you had to pick, who would you draft, Ovechkin or Crosby?)
  • The Harry Potter books (Which is the best and why?)
  • Public scandal by famous figures (specifically Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, and the Dixie Chicks)
  • The relevance of the British royal family (contemporary vs historical)
  • Gustavo Dudamel (What? I can work him in anywhere.)
  • Marriage, and regional attitudes toward it
  • Oscar-nominated films (Which is more deserving of Best Picture, The King's Speech or The Social Network? Neither of us have seen Black Swan.)
  • Books
Which brings me to the point of this post. I'm not much for new year's resolutions, as I generally abandon them two weeks into the year, but this year I set a goal for myself.  After a relatively lazy year of reading in 2010, I've commenced what I've dubbed The 50 Books Project. In 2011, I resolve to read at least 50 books--nearly one a week.  I feel that it's a realistic goal, notwithstanding the fact that one of the books on my to-read pile is--still--the 1,488-page A Suitable Boy. That alone will take me a month at the least.  So I've got work to do.

I'm keeping track of my reading through the very addictive Goodreads, with which I am obsessed, and so far I've read six books this year:

Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel)
Safe Passage (I. Cook)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (R. Skloot) -- Fascinating, thought-provoking study on medical ethics and race relations.
Eighteen Acres (N. Wallace)
One Day (D. Nicholls) -- Loved, until three chapters from the end, when I nearly threw it out the window.  But then I loved it again.
The Hunger Games (S. Collins) -- Ya'll.  This book.  I hadn't heard of the Hunger Games trilogy until the third one came out a few months ago and people were like "FINALLY! IT'S HERE!" Clearly I'd missed something.  But oh, this book. I read it in 24 hours.  So, so excellent.

So tell me, everyone, what have you read and loved recently?


  1. Fifty? Impressive! I read 38 last year.... Little Bee was a favorite and a quick read to counteract A Suitable Boy! Also good (and pretty short) is The Cellist of Sarajevo. HIGHLY recommended. For non-fiction try Three Cups of Tea.

  2. I read Little Bee, but I have not read the other two. Three Cups of Tea has been on my to-read list for a while.

  3. I'm currently reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell which is brilliant. I also loved Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman which was a Christmas gift. In fact, any Neil Gaiman is worth reading.

  4. Good luck with that, Hannah - its an ambitious goal. I haven't been reading much lately - too much work and off-hours screen time. I should follow your example!