Reader’s Journal: What’s Next?

This has been a terrible week for blogging. I haven’t been sampling, haven’t been reading. (GASP! I know!) I did finish my Martha Grimes book, and then my book club was canceled. Oh well, at least I can say now that I’ve read another mystery writer, one that I enjoyed, even.

I sort of lied…I have been reading The Big House, but only a few pages here and there, so it doesn’t really count. Even though it’s engaging and well-written, I have to admit: my mind is on what to read next. I have no less than five different choices:

The Murder Room, by PD James. This is my next book club book. I’m tempted to read it and get it over with. No offense to the book or my friend who picked it–book club reading can sometimes feel like an assignment to be got out of the way so I can get to the other things on my list, like…

Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl. I’ve been dying to read this since it came out last year. Description from Powell’s: “Special Topics in Calamity Physics is a darkly hilarious coming-of-age novel and a richly plotted suspense tale told through the distinctive voice of its heroine, Blue van Meer. After a childhood moving from one academic outpost to another with her father (a man prone to aphorisms and meteoric affairs), Blue is clever, deadpan, and possessed of a vast lexicon of literary, political, philosophical, and scientific knowledge — and is quite the cineaste to boot. In her final year of high school at the elite (and unusual) St. Gallway School in Stockton, North Carolina, Blue falls in with a charismatic group of friends and their captivating teacher, Hannah Schneider. But when the drowning of one of Hannah’s friends and the shocking death of Hannah herself lead to a confluence of mysteries, Blue is left to make sense of it all with only her gimlet-eyed instincts and cultural references to guide — or misguide — her.” Of course, I’ve also seen it get what to me is the highest order of praise: It’s as good as The Secret History, by Donna Tartt, one of my favorite books. But then I have that great apprehension one gets before going on a date with someone who seems to good to be true: What if I don’t like it?

Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett. This would be a re-read, first round. I’ve been thinking about it for months. I remember it being wholly engaging and beautifully written. I need some inspiration. This might be the place to get it. Plus, I like to re-read authors when I hear they have a new book coming out. Geeky, I know, but it’s what I do. Her new novel, currently titled Run, will hopefully be out soon.

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe and Other Stories, by Carson McCullers. I’ve read Member of the Wedding and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, but I’ve never read McCullers short stories. I’ve had this book for no less than twelve years and never read it. Think it’s about time? (Also, apparently there’s a new critical version of this that Harold Bloom put together, if you’re into that sort of thing–and if you can find it.)

The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami. Technically, I’d be finishing this one, as I got halfway through it last year and then started a new job. Right after I started said new job, the holidays arrived, and so on and so forth until I forgot about it. Except I haven’t really forgotten about it, because trust me, once you’ve started it, it’s hard to forget. I just wonder how much I’ll have to re-read. My guess is not much–it’s so vivid and well told, it sticks.

I could go on and on listing choices, but I think I’ve narrowed it down to these five. Obviously the first one is non-negotiable, as it’s for book club, and there’s nothing more annoying than trying to talk about the book when only a couple of people have read it.

What’s next on your pile, readers? Anything I should add to my list? *wink*

*images from Powell’s

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