Monday, January 23, 2012

100 Books in 2012

I'm determined to continue to read more. Since I do well with goals and lists (see last post), I decided to set a goal and keep a list (natch). And while it might be inconvenient... clearly, that's no excuse.

Here's the goal: READ 100 BOOKS IN 2012.

Here's the deal: I will periodically post an updated list (keeping a running tally here). That list will help me generate content for my designated Books-and-Movies posting day.

I already have a stack of must-reads on my shelf, BUT am always happy to expand the list, so if you have any YOU. MUST. READ. THIS. recommendations, please send them my way! By the way, I am counting plays, graphic novels, and any other equivalent works as books, because, they too are literature - and I really need to be reading more plays. Theater people, please factor that in if you have recommendations to share on the script-side!

I am off to a solid start, but that's largely thanks to a quiet, peaceful New Year's weekend wherein I finished several of the books I started in December. (They totally count for the 2012 list). Already up to five books. Succinct reviews below - and the tally begins!

"Bossypants" by Tina Fey. This was a birthday gift from my awesome parents. If you haven't already read this book, RUN! DON'T WALK! And do not drink milk while reading! Seriously, one of the funniest books I've ever read. A gem on every page, from keen observations ("there are never fewer than eight Tracy Ullman characters in any New York nail salon at any given time") to beauty confessions ("left unchecked, (my eyebrows) will grow straight across my face and onto yours"). But mostly, "Bossypants" is a hilarious here's-how-I-got-here memoir about Tina Fey's unconventional career in entertainment. It is both inspiring, and might make you pee a little.

"Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman. I started amping up my Gaiman reading last year. What took me so long? I'll never know. But with "American Gods" and "Anansi Boys" recently completed, I shifted to early Gaiman. "Neverwhere" was delightful. I loved the world he built, how much seemed fantastic and yet how much familiar. One of his earliest works, it made me have a little more fear AND a little more faith in storytelling. (Fear of ever being worthy as a storyteller in a world where he exists. Faith that there are readers who want that sort of story.) Wicked, fun, engaging, magical. You know. Gaiman.

"My Life As An Experiment" by A.J. Jacobs. I loved A. J. Jacobs' The Year of Living Biblically, so I was excited to read the quirky human petri dish's next installment of lifestyle experimentation. It didn't disappoint. Laugh out loud funny and occasionally poignant, A.J.'s willingness to put himself through everything from Radical Honesty to outsourcing his entire life to unitasking is incredible. My favorite chapter was the one where he catered to his wife's every whim for a month. I mentioned that to D. I don't think he got the hint.

"Southern Gothic Novel" by Frank Blocker. Frank Blocker is a New York based actor, director, and playwright. I was lucky enough to see his fantastic one man show "Southern Gothic Novel" this month, and also privileged to read the script. A tongue-in-cheek yet loving homage to the melodramatic genre of the Southern Gothic novel, this nonstop script is truly a tour de force when all the kooky characters are brought to life by one hell of a committed actor.

"Y: The Last Man" (Book One) by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan, Jr. I grew up reading comic books (X-Men nerd - hard core) and lately I'm rediscovering my love of the graphic novel. I read Joe Hill's "Locke & Key" (Book One) towards the end of 2011 - and yes, the subsequent books will likely appear on this list. I just read "Y: The Last Man" which I'd thumbed through before but never sat down to read. Fast-paced, funny, and excellent storytelling. I also love how reminiscent the art is of my favorite comics as a child, interspersing realistic, intense-detail paintings of the scenes at the top of every chapter in addition to the panel art throughout. Can't wait to continue the Y journey.

Current Tally: 100 Books in 2012
1. "Bossypants" by Tina Fey
2. "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman
3. "My Life As An Experiment" by A.J. Jacobs
4. "Southern Gothic Novel" by Frank Blocker
5. "Y: The Last Man" by Brian K. VaughanPia Guerra, and Jose Marzan, Jr.


  1. Great start! I hate to be a copy cat BUT this is such a captivating topic that I might have to try something similar!