I've never made a to-read short list that I've followed exactly. Something always gets in the way--such as another book. But since I am determined to make a tentative list, I've been perusing my shelves, my eReader, and my notes from conferences and from friends.
Some of the books on my list--and my shelf--come directly from my Lemuria First Editions Club, books that arrive on my doorstep every month, signed by the authors, almost like magic. Some I knew about before they arrived; almost certainly, though, I hear about them soon. They have a knack for picking books down in Jackson, Mississippi. From those shelves, I'm planning first to read these:
Madison Smartt Bell's Devil's Dream (about Nathan Bedford Forrest)
Siobhan Fallon's You Know When the Men Are Gone (military wives waiting at Ft. Hood)
Joseph O'Conner, Ghost Light
Amy Greene, Bloodroot
Sonny Brewer, ed. Don't Quit Your Day Job
Others on the shelves calling my name:
Firoozeh Dumas, Funny in Farsi (I heard the author speak in Orlando and can't wait for this one.)
Marcus Zusak, I Am the Messenger (by the author of Book Thief)
Dava Sobel, Longitude
Rick Bragg, All Over but the Shoutin' (yes, I confess I haven't read it yet!)
Emma Donoghue, Room
Nancy Horn, Loving Frank
Alice I Have Been,
Gary Shtenygart, Super Sad True Love Story (from Carol Jago's list)
Dave Eggers, Zeitoun
Nancy Mitford, Savage Beauty (Edna St. Vincent Millay)
John McPhee, Silk Parachute
This last I chose when I heard the title mentioned on Writers Almanac. McPhee, a regular contributor to The New Yorker, wrote a beautiful, quirky piece about his mother near Mother's Day several years ago. It struck me enough that I wrote him, and he replied with a lovely handwritten note. I am trusting that the silk parachute in the title is a reference to that same lovely essay. I still have it torn from the magazine and filed in office with other essays that I've particularly loved. I can't wait to see what else he's included.
I may have to add Sarah's Key, since several people have recommended it, and my sister Amy insists I must read The Book of Secrets. Now all I need is more time to read.