8 more books: My 2009 New Year’s Resolutions

8-5-3-2 more or less
  • Read 8 more books
  • Lose 5 more pounds
  • Floss 3 times a week
  • Brush 2 minutes a day
  • Give more; take less (at work I say that means give more guff; take less back talk). This is problematic because it doesn’t meet one of my criteria: it isn’t measurable

The Books

I was an English major in college but got away from reading. I remember in the 80’s I read some of the new fiction (Less Than Zero) and some Thomas McGuane. I just got turned off by the protagonists going through hard times only to end up dead on the last page. I just go bummed out. I ended up reading more non-fiction; some religious stuff and history; and others. I’ll go back and recap my 2008 list in later posts.

But this year, I thought I’d try rediscovering fiction and exploring life from that point of view. I plan to make at least 1/2 my list novels or short story collections.

It’s early February and I’m on my 3rd book – Couples by John Updike. This has been on my shelf since college but I’ve never really gotten around to reading it. I figured now is the time. John Updike died recently and I’ve listened to a number of past interviews with him (Fresh Air, On Point with Tom Ashbrook). Listening to Updike talk really brought back to me what fiction is all about: exploring a made up life in order to show ourselves what our real lives are about. And Updike’s focus on description; on making every word the right word, brought back to me the idea of the artistry of writing: it really is an art form.

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