For years I had stopped reading books for pleasure. I drifted away from it in my early thirties around the time I had my used bookstore/coffeeshop in The Bronx. (Useful tip for booklovers: If you love reading books, don’t open a bookstore). After the bookstore closed I was back drinking heavily again for about eight years. I don’t think I cracked a book open that entire time.
When I finally sobered I came out of the fog writing. I wrote as if my life depended on it for seven years straight; two memoirs (Orangutan, and That’s That), two plays, four screenplays, reams of poetry, essays, short stories, newspaper articles and of course notebooks full of jibersih that didn’t wind up going anywhere. I was reading again also, but mostly for research. The only pleasureable reading I was doing was when I read to my daughter every night before she would go to sleep, I still do (we’re currently working our way through Roald Dahl).
It wasn’t until I met my wife Rachel a few years ago that I started to get a sense of what I was missing in my own life. Rachel is a voracious reader. She can read a book and get lost in it. I envied her ability to switch off, to allow herself to be carried away by a story. It reminded me of how I used to read when I fell in love with literature for the first time.
At the beginning of each year Rachel sets a rough goal for the number of books she will read for the year. This year, inspired by Rachel’s list, I too set a goal to read 27 books in 2015. I wound up reading a total of 31 books. I have decided to share the list in the hope that maybe you too will feel inspired to go back to that magical place once again. Start small: pick up a book, any book, give yourself twenty minutes, if it doesn’t work, go pick up another book.
My list of books in the order I read them:
1. The Heather Blazing: Colm Toibin
2. Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children: Ransom Rigs
3. Diary of John S Casey of his Voyage on the Hougomont.
4. Making Movies ; Sidney Lumet
5. Junkie Love: Joe Clifford
6. A Story Lately Told: Anjelica Huston
7. In my Own Words: Paul Galvin
8. Ask the Dust: John Fante
9. Everyman: Philip Roth
10. Life: Keith Richards
11. Men and Dogs: Katie Crouch
12. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time: Mark Haddon
13. Diamonds are Forever: Ian Fleming
14. Philip Roth: Indignation
15. The Man With the Golden Gun: Ian Fleming
16. The Harder They Come: T Coraghessen Boyle
17. The Cartel: Don Winslow
18. How the Good Guys Finally Won: Jimmy Breslin
19. The Things They Carried: Tim O'Brien
20. Zero Zero Zero: Roberto Saviano
21. The Banished Children of Eve: Peter Quinn
22. Angels all Over Town: Luanne Rice
23. Purity: Jonathan Franzen
24. Behind the Mask: Patrick Treacy
25. Avenue of Mysteries: John Iriving
26. Little Witness: Connie Roberts
27. Iron Weed: William Kennedy
28. Quentin Tarantino: Dale Sherman
29. The Vanishing Face of Gaia: James Lovelock
30. Solace: Belinda Mckeon
31. The Happy Vegan: Russell Simmons
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