2019 – The Year of Scary Books

As proud as I am that I read fifty (fifty!) books in 2018, I don’t think it’s necessarily the best thing to set all your reading goals based purely on numbers. Trying to hit my goal, I rushed through some books I wish I had lingered on a bit more; I avoided some challenging books because I was afraid they’d slow me down. And if you can’t spend months reading long, boring tomes, then what’s life for, anyway? (That would make a good motto for graduate school.)

So this year, I’m going to attack some books that I’ve been putting off because I’m too scared of them, for various reasons. Either they’re intimidating, or just long, or I’m afraid of the actual subject matter. Some examples:

Book Reason It’s Scary

A Man in Full
As much as I like Tom Wolfe, this is a long book with really tiny print. Also, I’ve only read his non-fiction before. Don’t want to be disappointed by his fiction work.

Lord of the Rings
Loooooooong. Full of Middle-Earth dwarf talk.Has been hyped as an all-time classic my entire life, so can only either meet expectations or disappoint.

The Road
It’s about a father and son who embark on a desperate journey to find help in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The situation is so dire that the father carries a gun with two bullets — one for him and one for his son — as a last resort. As the father of a son myself, this is a terrifying prospect to me. Also, this book won a Pulitzer prize, which means it’s probably unreadable.

The Federalist Papers
Full of very detailed, carefully reasoned arguments that probably don’t make for a page-turner. And I’m assuming that it’s all written in colonial-times talk, meaning without pop culture references or emojis. So, it’s not in a language that I am well trained to follow.

A Clockwork Orange
Full of mindless brutality in a hollow society that has been utterly stripped of its soul. Much too close to current events for comfort.

So, I’m backing my numerical goal down from 50 books to 36. Three a month still seems like a pretty healthy pace. And it will allow me to take on more challenging books that might take me longer to finish because of frequent nodding off and/or weeping. I plan to take a crack at all the books above and then some.

If anybody has any suggestions for scary books you’d like to me to try, I’d love to hear them. Maybe you have a book that you haven’t been able to bring yourself to read, and it’s been nagging and nagging you, and you’d like me to reconnoiter it for you. Just let me know about it. As long as it’s not Wuthering Heights. I read that in high school and I’d rather be dragged behind a bus than do it again. But anything else, shoot it to me.

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