Even though it is hard for me, I am challenging myself to return to reading in order to broaden my horizons of story. I want to read things I don’t quite understand, yet am drawn to because of the beauty of their crafting. Each week I will read an average of 100 pages. I arrived at this number, because I had a 7th grade Reading teacher that said I should be reading 40 pages a night, but you might recall that I am a poor reader. I also have two young children at home and I work full-time. I figure I could read around 20 pages for 5 days of each week. I will also try to alternate more difficult books with books that are more accessible. I’m reading all novels except for three books by ancient Christian writers.
I have also chosen this challenge to try to understand what makes good storytelling. As I write, mostly for comics, I find my stories circling back onto the same tired phrases and juvenile metaphors. I am hoping by reading some good literature, I might be stretched and challenged as a storyteller.
I will be checking in here periodically to give my thoughts on what I’ve read and to keep me accountable to keep reading. I am listing the books I am going to read this year below. The list is not yet complete, so feel free to make suggestions.
Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Stories
The Sacrament of the Present Moment – Jean-Pierre De Caussade
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
The Imitation of Christ – Thomas a Kempis
Devil in the White City – Erik Larson (whoops this one’s a true story)
The Ball and the Cross – G.K. Chesterton
Introduction to a Devout Life – St. Frances de Sales
Jean Stafford: Collected Stories
The End of the Affair – Graham Greene
The Turn of the Screw – Henry James
The Tiger’s Wife – Tea Obreht
Under the Volcano – Malcolm Lowry
Ragtime – E.L. Doctorow
Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula le Guin
The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
Go Tell It on the Mountain – James Baldwin
Good Kings Bad Kings – Susan Nussbaum