Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dangerous Librations

I came! I read! I got really freaked out! Huzzah!

I'm wrapping up My Year of Reading Dangerously. Last January, I compiled a list of thirteen books of which I was, in some way, afraid. The goal was to read twelve of them, one a month, slowly inching my way through biliophiliac terror toward enlightenment or education or at the very least nearsightedness. Along the way, I would point out the dangers, real and imagined, of my reading list. I would slap fear up against reality and catalog the carnage.

And that's exactly what I did, less a few hitches. During the fall, I lost three months of reading time as real-life fear blew literary fear out of the water. I worried I wouldn't be able to finish, but I picked back up in December, powering through the final book with three brave days to spare. When everything was said and done, I'd finished twelve fearsome, fearful, awesome, awful books. Sometimes my fears were realized. More frequently, they proved baseless. Every book taught me something different about danger.

So here they are again, defanged, muzzled, and neatly corralled:

Required Reading
  • Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout
  • Netherland, Joseph O'Neill
  • An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination, Elizabeth McCracken
Fearsomely Good
  • American Wife, Curtis Sittenfeld
  • My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead, ed. Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Downtown Owl, Chuck Kloosterman
Nothing to Fear
  • An Abundance of Katherines, John Green
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
  • The Inheritance of Loss, Kiran Desai
  • Catch-22, Joseph Heller
  • Twilight, Stephanie Meyer
  • I See you Everywhere, Julia Glass
But wait a minute, you think. There were thirteen books! Which one got away? What was the one book I was too craven to confront?

The Great White Whale
  • The Ambassadors, Henry James
This probably isn't a shocker. Maybe next year.

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