Right, so we all know I like to make lists. I’ve got about six on my phone at the moment that I regularly add to, “Pop Culture” (aka albums to buy, museum exhibits to see, etc.), “Restos “(self-explanatory), “Write” (ideas for the blog, articles and beyond) and “Travel” (self-explanatory) among them.
But there’s one that is not getting any cross-off love these days. (You know, the satisfaction one feels when they’ve accomplished something on their list and can therefore “cross it off.”)
It’s my Book list.
It’s sad, really, because I love to read so so much. In fact, I actually quit my book club before leaving for London because I love to read so much. How does one explain that one? Well, I often felt being part of a club held me back from a) reading books I really want to read and b) reading at my own pace. With about 10 or 11 members, reading a book a month (or usually a little over), each member only really gets to choose once a year. Now, while I almost always felt grateful for having read most of the books chosen by my book club — comprised of a tremendously fun, intelligent group of women, many of whom I’ve known for years, by the way — I was sorta looking forward to being able to read all the “other” books on my growing list while over here in London.
I have a blog to write. A gazillion newspapers to read. And a city I don’t know to explore.
By the time I go to sleep at 1 or 2a.m. (!!!) nearly every night, all I can do is make a move or two on one of the 8 games of Words With Friends I’ve got going on. And even that feels like a chore.
And TV? Phsaw. What is that? I can count on my hands how many times I’ve turned on the “telly” here. Maybe it’s because without a DVR I can’t commit to a series; or maybe it’s because I haven’t found a show I’m as devoted to like, say Girls or Survivor, which (and here it comes) I actually paid to download automatically into my iTunes the day after it airs in the US. (Go ahead and judge. I am not ashamed. Not only do I love the escape, the challenge and drama, I love discussing it with my brother every week.)
But not watching TV doesn’t bother me as much. Not creating that first crease in a new paperback or seeing the downloading line get to 100% on my Kindle Fire does. I sorely miss getting lost in a narrative, and know if I were still in Book Club, I probably would’ve been a mind-wandering fool at least three times by now.
I’m sure once I get back into a routine that’s not temporary, I’ll be able to choose something from my list and tear through it like I do all the chips I’ve been eating. Which is why I was at peace with adding a new title — Levels of Life by Julian Barnes — to my list after reading a blurb about it in the Times this morning.
In the meantime, here’s what’s on my Book-It List. There’s non-fiction and travel memoirs, juicy history novels and very old classics. Maybe you’ll be inspired to pick up a copy, crawl into a corner and devour the written word. Oh, and feel free to suggest any that, based on my selection, you think I might like. I’ll try my damnest not to have FOMO and add it to the list with the delightful knowing that not only is there just an abundance of creative talent out there, but that I’ll get to it — and maybe, just maybe even join it — someday.
There’s a Road to Everywhere Except Where You Came From by Bryan Charles
Take the Longest Way Home: One Man’s Courage for the Strength to Settle Down by Andrew McCarthy
Great House by Nicole Krauss
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
The Prophet by Kahil Gibran
If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
Crazy Salad by Nora Ephron
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? By Maria Semple
The Last Bohemia: Scenes from the Life of Williamsburg, Brooklyn by Robert Anasi
Look at Me by Jennifer Eagn
This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
A Hologram for a King by Dave Eggers
What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti
The Innocents by Francesa Segal
The Secret Lives of People in Love: Stories by Simon Van Booy