“I read my eyes out and can’t read half enough…the more one reads the more one sees we have to read.”
– John Adams
“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“So, this is college…I didn’t miss nothing.”
– Carmine Sabatini, from the movie The Freshman
A few days ago I shared my reading list for the past year. It came out of my recognizing the value of time and, with limited time, the importance of choosing good books.
“So many books, so little time.” – Frank Zappa.
I want to grow in wisdom and understanding in every area of my life. Abigail Adams said, “Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.” Therefore, I have been planning my reading list for 2014 and I already have several books in my “to read” pile.
First, here is the Fiction.
If you can believe it, I have never read Fahrenheit 451. I have seen the François Truffaut movie a few times and 2014 will be the year I correct this error. Along with that modern classic I’ll be reading a well know 1813 novel, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. To please my wife, I must admit, I’ve seen one or two film adaptations. The interesting thing is, these “definitive chick flicks” are based on a book that actually has a lot to say about relationships between men and women (…or so I am told). Another book I’ll be reading that made it to the big screen (quiet a while ago) is The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett. And, to correct another deficiency, The Hunt for Red October is on the list. I’ve read several John Grisham and Michael Crichton novels and don’t know how I’ve gotten this far without having read any of Tom Clancy’s work. One more book made into a favorite film, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, will be an enjoyable read.
History and Biography are a big part of the list. Almost certainly my favorite non-fiction writer is David McCullough, so I will be reading 1776, focusing on the start of the American Revolution. One of my personal activities is working with International students, mostly Chinese High School students. That is motivating me to read a couple of books specific to that culture. First I expect to be reading On China by Henry Kissinger. Also, I am trying to decide which biography on Sun Yat-sen would be best. In the early 20th century, he was the driving force in post-Imperial China in uniting the country. Back to American history, I picked up Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell. Then remembering how much I enjoyed Walter Isaacson’s exceptional biography on Steve Jobs, I’m looking forward to reading his book, Einstein: His Life and Universe. These are a few of my guides to wisdom and knowledge for the next year. I like what Michael Crichton once said, “If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.”
There’s room for more, and I know I’ll find many books in the months ahead that I’ll throw into my “to read” pile, or even ones that will “cut in line” and cry out to be read next. That’s part of the fun. 2014 should be a good year.
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
– Scout, To Kill a Mockingbird