Blog Post

Reading for Pleasure


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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