Monday, September 22, 2008

my fall-winter-spring reading list

My two years of MFA studies includes reading (gulp) 62 books while writing and researching. I’m currently halfway through, working on books 40 and 41, leaving (gulp) 21 more titles for the rest of the year.

I just finished:
The Madonnas of Leningrad (37) by Debra Dean
Bewildered Travel: The Sacred Quest for Confusion (38), by Frederick Ruf
Emerson: The Mind on Fire (39) by Robert Richardson

All three are excellent reads, fiction, questing and biography, and I will say more about them soon.

My next set of required reading includes:
Swann’s Way (In Remembrance of Things Past) (40) by Marcel Proust
Cape Cod, Henry David Thoreau
Father and Son, Edmund Gosse
Hunger of Memory, Richard Rodriguez (very excited about this one!)

By spring I also need to read
In Praise of Folly, Erasmus
Love in the Ruins, Walker Percy

And the books I’m choosing for myself continue to shift, but here is a sketch of possibilities:

Acedia, a memoir by Kathleen Norris
My Grandfather’s House nonfiction by Robert Clark
The Virginia Woolf Reader(42)
Through a Screen Darkly a memoir by Jeffrey Overstreet
Dark Alphabet poetry by Jennifer Meier
How to Cook a Wolf cooking-writing by MFK Fisher
Unveiling (41) a novel by Suzanne Wolfe
Home a novel by Marilynne Robinson
Leaving Church a memoir by Barbara Brown Taylor
Force of the Spirit by Scott Russell Sanders

Far from making Denise a dull girl, the reading habit is a joyful one. Required reading "feels" different from my chosen readings, but it's also fun to stretch my tastes.

Any can't-miss reading selections to add to my list? I can't promise I'll get to them, but I have a little window open for suggestions...


emillikan said...

My only MUST READ that is readable in the amount of time you have: Adam's Task by Vicki Hearne.

Okay, it's not a MUST READ for you, but it was for me. :) Right up there with Wendell Berry.

Lisa B. said...

I loved Leaving Church.

Have you read The House Where the Hardest Things Happened (Kate Young-Caley)? Or Mudhouse Sabbath (Lauren Winner)? Or Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion (Sara Miles)? Not sure if any of these are up your alley or would meet your purposes, but they're all ones I enjoyed greatly. :)