Better Than Sex?

In this age of digital texts suggesting human emotions in three letters (like LOL), hundreds of mostly forgettable television stations (the Golf Channel?), and High School curriculums selecting Stephen King over William Shakespeare, Why do we read?

David Denby suggests that arguing that reading is good is as silly as arguing that sex is good .. or nature or music. As Denby says: Who could disagree? And as Denby admits: much of today’s youth. We’ve all heard the sad fact that an unacceptable number of people never read a book in their adult life and often those books which were required reading in High School are remembered, not fondly, but for the pain they caused.

Read David Denby’s book, Lit Up. It’s fun and enlightening.

Here it is April and I’ve almost met my common goal of a hundred books in a year. This pandemic is just eating its way through my library (actually, it seems like a lot but it’s still just nibbling around the edges of all the books I want to read before I die).

I know I could easily add a few extra titles to this month’s reading list but I’m liking the scheme where I limit the pool to twenty titles, slip in a Big Fat Book, and fill out the time with quick entertainments of the mystery detective variety. Here is this month’s list:

  1. Cousin Pons — Honoré de Balzac
  2. Girl A — Abigail Dean
  3. Lit Up — David Denby
  4. Little Dorrit — Charles Dickens
  5. The Franchiser — Stanley Elkin
  6. Mexican Gothic — Silvia Morena-García
  7. A Death in the Family: My Struggle Book 1 — Karl Ove Knausgârd
  8. No One Is Talking About This — Patrician Lockwood
  9. Hades, Argentina: A Novel — Daniel Loedel
  10. The Infatuations — Javier Marías
  11. Further Tales of the City — Armistead Maupin
  12. The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinth — Veeraporn Nitiprapha
  13. The Pornographers: A Novel — Akiyuki Nozaka
  14. What Are You Going Through — Sigrid Nunez
  15. Hamnet — Maggie O’Farrell
  16. Room Next Door, The — Nicolas Papaconstantinou
  17. Jack: A Novel — Marilynne Robinson
  18. The Bride of Lammermoor — Sir Walter Scott
  19. Going Native — Stephen Wright
  20. A Joie de Vivre — Émile Zola

Although there are so many choices, I’m focusing on Weymouth Sands by John Cowper Powys or Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman if there is still time for a title from the Bucket List.

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