Books | Shelf Life

New Year's resolutions for readers: For me, it's Jane Austen (hold the zombies)

A new year is fast approaching, and it’s a good time for me to take a good, hard look at my leisure reading and resolve to do better. Or at least to be a little more ambitious in my reading choices (even if it’s only to finally tackle that daunting pile of books accumulating on my nightstand that I really, truly do intend to get to someday). It’s rather embarrassing for a guy who regularly reviews books to admit to some of the glaring gaps in his reading, I admit, but I’m hoping that a public confession will spur me to action. So I hereby resolve that in 2010 I will read:

1. More poetry. I love poetry and find that I don’t make nearly enough time for it. First up: Amy Gerstler’s Dearest Creatures, which sounds brilliant in this review in the New York Times Book Review.

2. The zombie-free oeuvre of Jane Austen. (Yes, I was an English major in college. No, I never did read an Austen novel.)

3. Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I’ve never been a comic-book guy, and I think that that aspect of this Pulitzer-winning novel always put me off. But I loved Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which boasts a comics-fixated hero, so I’m willing to take a chance.

There are other items on my to-read list (I want to chase down the acclaimed locked-room mysteries of John Dixon Carr, for instance, and go back to Lee Child’s early Jack Reacher thrillers), but that should be enough to get me started. The biggest challenge – for me, anyway – will be carving out time for already-published books when I’m so busy reviewing new titles. But what about you, Shelf Lifers? What books do you resolve to read in the new year?

Originally posted December 31 2009 — 10:47 AM EST

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