To Read - A List

Norman Mailer died today.

It doesn’t matter much to me. I didn’t know him. I’d never read any of his books. I rarely read any of his articles or columns, and then only when we crossed paths on the internet.

A portrait of Norman Mailer as a young man.
Norman Mailer

But I have not been reading lately, and the death of such a well-known author did give me cause to think about literature and reading in general. Soon, if the next month goes well, I will suddenly find myself with more free time than I have had in the last 42 months: I will be a college graduate with a 9-5 job and a few friends still in class.

In those 42 months, I have developed a nasty habit of spending my free time idly at my computer; scouring the vast emptiness of the internet for interesting things to read or to see and occasionally talking to real-live humans. I want to break myself of this habit and nurture a new dependency on reading that other great invention: the book.

To that end, I’m starting a list of books I want to read, which is something I should have done years ago. Below I am reproducing this list as an open call for additions and suggestions. This is in no particular order and is based only on what I’ve read recently.

  • The Name of the Rose* Umberto Eco.
  • The 42nd Parallel John Dos Passos.
  • 1919 John Dos Passos.
  • The Big Money John Dos Passos.
  • The Naked and the Dead Norman Mailer.
  • Armies of the Night Norman Mailer.
  • The Executioner Norman Mailer.
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Ken Kesey.
  • The Odyssey tr. Stanley Lombardon.
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being* Milan Kundera.
  • Carrie Stephen King.
  • William Marshall* Georges Duby.
  • Studs Lonigan James T. Farrell.
  • Moby Dick* Herman Melville.
  • L’Étranger (in French) Albert Camus.
  • The Plague Albert Camus.
  • Pale Fire Vladimir Nabokov.
  • Camera Obscura Vladimir Nabokov.

An * means I’ve already started the book.