I’ve considered myself a reader for so long that it’s hard to admit how I’ve slipped. Now, instead of perusing (in the original sense) and reflecting, I look for bullet points and scan for conclusions. And while I could blame my inattentiveness on the Internet and related devices, I can also point to the place on my first grade report card that says, “sacrifices accuracy for speed.” I do like to go fast, but I don’t like when speed makes me stupid.
Alaska is my place to slow down and remember what it’s like to read well. If experience holds true, I’ll read more books in four weeks away than in the other forty-eight put together. An important part of planning the trip is figuring out what books to send ahead to Fairbanks, because once we’re out at the cabin we can’t change our minds and order something else.
Here’s what’s on my 2015 cabin book list so far:
The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money, and Miracles (You there. Yes, you. I see you rolling your eyes. Stop that.)
Plus, I just came across this BBC list of The 21st Century’s 12 Greatest Novels. (Doesn’t it seem a little early to call that one? Oh, well.) I decided I’d better take a look. I’ve read only six and bailed on a seventh; that would be A Visit from the Goon Squad, shown above, with moose. The moose was more my style. But I think I’ll add Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead to my cabin list. I loved Housekeeping.
What’s the best book you’ve read this century — or this year?