At the beginning of 2011, Jenny and I tried a little experiment and swapped reading lists of five books that we each agreed to read during the year. The experiment was a great success, with every book suggestion turning out to be a winner. So of course we had to do it again. Here are our choices:
Teresa’s Picks for Jenny
- A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O’Connor
- Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
- The Glass of Time by Michael Cox
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- Small Island by Andrea Levy
Jenny’s Picks for Teresa
- If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino
- Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter
- Short fantasy stories by George Macdonald (for instance, The Wise Woman and Other Stories, The Light Princess and Other Stories, The Golden Key and Other Stories — you choose!)
- The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk
- The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley
Jenny: What, no Hardy this year? No, but seriously, last year’s choices were such a hit — I at least liked and mostly loved every one. I am really looking forward to all of these. The biggest challenge is going to be Sister Carrie, because that’s a classic I read in high school, and it’s the first book I ever remember actively disliking. I’ve re-read so many books as an adult with fresh eyes — this will be great fun to try again.
Teresa: Oh no! I had no idea that you’d read Sister Carrie and definitely no idea that you didn’t like it. It seems like something you would like, but if you don’t, I’d be happy to point you in the direction of another Hardy. I’m excited to finally read some George Macdonald. He’s been on my list for years, and I’m pretty sure I have something on my e-reader already. I’ve had a copy of the Calvino sitting unread for a while now too. This is going to be fun!
Jenny: Teresa, I trust you. You gave me Hardy when I didn’t think I’d like him, didn’t you? You’re always right, I tell you. I walk into the arms of Theodore Dreiser blindfolded and happy. And as for the rest — World War II, dystopia, Victorian pastiche — I’m revving my engines. Let the turning of pages begin!