I Need Some Books to Read

Earlier this year, I resolved to read at least half as many books as my wife. We’re getting close to the halfway point for the year, I have to admit that, so far, it’s not going great. While I’ve read parts of about half a dozen books, I’ve finished a grand total of none of them. The problem is, I haven’t found any books that have really captured my imagination. Here’s some of what I’m working through:

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole: It’s a classic, yes, and an excellent example of a well-written comic novel. And it is funny — really funny, not just stuck-in-literature-class-and-desperately-looking-for-a-reason-to-stay-awake funny. The problem is that it’s the same joke over and over again. There’s no character development. Everybody in the book starts out dumb and stays at pretty much the same level of dumb throughout. As a result, the book is eminently put-downable.

Quiet by Susan Cain: As an introvert myself, I was hoping this book on introverts would help me to know myself better and to feel better about the myself I know (good sentence structure there; I’m a writer!). And truth be told, there are enlightening and encouraging tidbits in there. But as I read more, the book seems to be devolving into a grocery list of cherry-picked statistics and excuses for introverts to stay in the basement, alphabetizing  their comic book collection and listening to The Smiths. I don’t know if excuses are what introverts needs, given that we’re living in, as Cain herself admits, a world so thoroughly geared toward extroverts.

Paradise Lost by John Milton: I don’t know what I was thinking. I want credit just for attempting this one.

The Divine Comedy by Dante: Don’t be fooled by the title. It’s actually not that funny.

Learn to Solder: Tools and Techniques for Assembling Electronics by Brian Jepson: Starting to think I could get more out of this book if I actually owned a soldering iron. Or had ever held one.

Now, so that I can have half a chance of keeping up with my wife, I need some recommendations for some great reads. Some grabbers. Some page-turners. Some can’t-put-it-downers. (But not necessarily, y’know, “downers.” Happy stories are good too. Anyways…)

Can anybody out there recommendation anything? We’re heading into summer reading season, so this would be the perfect time to build up some reading momentum. Bonus points if you can recommend something that is not also a movie. I know, I know: Harry Potter and The Hunger Games are great. Let’s branch out a little.