Daily Archives: November 16, 2010

Daydreams About Books I Need to Read

Life has lately been hectic and unsympathetic to my reading needs. Fortunately, every now and then I have a minute to daydream about the books that I’ll read when I have a chance. Here are some that have been on my mind:

Face in the Frost by John Bellairs – Bellairs, the classic author of young adult gothic horror, was one of my first favorite authors. I received his book The Treasure of Alpheus Winterbornwhich is, incidentally, about a secret treasure hidden in an old library — as a gift in 6th grade, and quickly went on to read many of his other titles, such as The Spell of the Sorcerer’s SkullAs a kid, the autumnal ambience of Bellairs’s stories did much to shape my brain into the scare-seeking adult reader I am today. Face in the Frost is an earlier Bellairs title that I discovered only recently. It’s a mashup of horror and fantasy about two wizards trying to stop a world-destroying spell, and something I need to get my hands on soon. 

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis – In an earlier post, I mentioned the “founding fathers” book club I started with a friend. We fell a little behind on our reading schedule, but when we’re both able to read again, this is the book we’ll turn to next. Founding Brothers is Ellis’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book about, who else, the founding fathers of the United States. Hopefully this book will reveal to me some truth about the founding fathers, something that is in short supply these days.

Cicero by Anthony Everitt – I’ve been in the mood to dive into some Roman history, and since I enjoyed Everitt’s Augustus so much — a reading that was inspired by the amazing HBO series, Rome — I hope to eventually give his Cicero a try. Everitt has a knack of writing history in a way that feels more like a story than an academic treatise. He brought Augustus to life for me, so I’m sure he can do the same for Cicero.

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen – My colleagues have been discussing Franzen’s latest hit a lot lately, and I’m itching to get in on the conversation. I also think it sounds like an interesting story, I’m curious about what it says about American culture, and its pretty cover is always tempting me.

Stephen King’s N by Marc Guggenheim and Alex Maleev – This is a graphic novel version of the best short story I’ve read in the last year-and-a-half or so, “N.”, from Stephen King’s short story collection, Just After Sunset. “N.” is a Lovecraftian pastiche about a man who suffers from severe OCD after accidentally stumbling across a field that contains a half-opened entrance to our world with horrible things on the other side trying to get through. A graphic version of this amazing story must be great. 

Eye of the World by Robert Jordan – Do I really want to get into a high fantasy series (Wheel of Time is the series title) that’s now thirteen books long, with no end in sight, and that most people I talk to say becomes a drag just a few books in? I guess I’m just curious to see how far I can get before I hate it.

Aftershock by Robert B. Reich – It’s true, I’m obssessed with the post-recession state of the world and what the future holds, and Reich’s book jumped out at me. Aftershock argues that a definitive structural component of the near economic future will be the decline of the American consumer class that’s been built up over the last century. With wealth and power increasingly concentrated in the hands of the few, the income and influence of the majority of Americans (that’s us) will steadily decline. It’s an intriguing argument that I’d like to read more about. 

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – Sanderson took over the aforementioned Wheel of Time series after Robert Jordan died. As if he wasn’t busy enough working on that huge series, he recently published this first whopper (1,007 hardcover pages) in a new 10-part epic of his own called The Stormlight Archive. It’s about kings and weapons and magic and fights and other fantasy stuff that I enjoy.

What books have you been daydreaming about?

—Wes

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