In a few days, I'll be compiling the list of all the books I read during 2012, first copying them over into the little "Book Woman" notebook someone gave me years ago, then posting my list here. I read awhile back that Art Garfunkel has kept a record of the books he's read since his teenage years. How I wish I had done the same. But I didn't.
I have a system now, writing the title of every book I finish on the wall calendar that hangs in my laundry room. Each year my son John tries to pick the most outrageous, hilarious calendar possible, and the laundry room is a safe enough place to hang it, out of everyone else's sight perhaps, but right where I can see it and record my day-to-day business. The book list, though, is most valuable to me.
For now, though, I am thinking ahead to the list of books I hope to get around to reading this coming year. I have tried this kind of list before, and I rarely read half because other books make an appearance, and I'm lured away.
A few of the books on my to-read list come from friends. One, nearly family, gave me a book her fifteen-year-old daughter bought for me because it's her favorite book, Walter Dean Myer's Monster. I also plan to read The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grisson and Accordion Crimes by Annie Proulx, both on loan from a friend at work. I also plan to read Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers, set in a Mumbai slum. I also plan to read Ken Follet's Winter of the World, the second in his Century Series. After meeting the author at the North Carolina Writers Network fall conference, I also look forward to reading Binocular Vision, Edith Pearlman's short story collection, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.
I gave Anne Lamott's Help, Thanks, Wow! as a Christmas gift, but I plan to read it myself. I also hope to read Zadie Smith's NW. I also think I want to read Louise Erdrich's Round House and Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior. I'm also holding on to my newest collection of Lee Smith's short stories Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger I bought when she spoke at our conference of English instructors.
I tend to claim not to read much nonfiction, but my list shows otherwise. I am interested in reading Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon, about the experiences of parenting a wide range of "exceptional children." I also plan to read through The Happiness Project starting in January, with a little side project of my own.
I'm also drawn to The Art Forger, based simply on the title and a brief blurb, and I liked Still Alice enough that I might want to read Love Anthony by Lisa Genova. Based on recommendations, I may also need to read Kevin Powers' The Yellow Birds and Junot Diaz' This Is How You Lose Her.
Since I don't live in a vacuum, in fact, since my world is peopled by readers, avid, voracious readers, I know that over the next few days, I'll be hearing what books others read during the holidays or received or gave as Christmas gifts, and there will go my best-laid plans. Fortunately, I know that whatever else I'll be doing, I will be reading in 2013.