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.
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.