If I were a cow, I would be the watch cow. You know the watch cow: the one standing at the edge of the herd swishing its tail while all its bovine brethren sleep standing up. The watch cow is on guard. It's nobly alert. Its liquid eye is fixed on you.
Unfortunately, I'm not a cow, so the fact that I have a nervous system tuned like a really sharp e string is just annoying. Danger jangles me. I know it's not lurking in even a fraction of the places I think it is, but I can't help but spend an inordinate amount of time identifying, tracking, and responding to its movements in my life. As long as I'm alert for danger, it can't sneak up on me.
It's in the spirit of the watch cow, then, that I approach My Year of Reading Dangerously. To participate in this blogosphere book challenge, you pick 12 "dangerous" books and finish approximately one a month. They can be banned books, books you're afraid of, books you're loath to tackle without public accountability -just as long as they're in some way threatening.
I've developed a list of 13 fanged, slavering, yellow-eyed books for 2009. 12 I'll read; one will end up being too scary. Once I've sussed out dangers of each, I'll be sure to sound the alarm.
The Inheritance of Loss, Kiran Desai
An Abundance of Katherines, John Green
Netherland, Joseph O'Neill
My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead: Great Love Stories, ed. Jeffrey Eugenides
Catch 22, Joseph Heller
Twilight, Stephanie Meyer
The Ambassadors, Henry James
American Wife, Curtis Sittenfeld
Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout
I See You Everywhere, Julia Glass
Downtown Owl, Chuck Klosterman
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, Elizabeth McCracken
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson