Sunday, January 25, 2015

Steven's 2015 TBR

Remember that one time that I said I would post my TBR for 2015? You know, two weeks ago? Yeah I didn't. There's many things I can blame this tardiness on - homework, my childhood, Doctor Who - but I won't waste everyone's time by lying to you, so here's the real reason it's taken me so long: Jessica. That's right, it's Jessica's fault. I'm not sure how, but it just is, and she should feel very ashamed of herself.

Anywho, right now I'm supposed to be doing homework so naturally I've been quite productive with everything except homework, and this blog post is next on the list. In my 2015 reading resolutions blog post I said that I wanted to read 36 books, but the problem is I'm a very impulsive person who watches an entire season of a show on Netflix in one day then doesn't start the next season for three months. Therefore I won't write out all the books I'm planning to read because I know I'll end up substituting many of them and by April I'll have forgotten I have a list on Goodreads anyway.

But without further ado, here is Steven's 2015 TBR.

I Refuse by Per Petterson

Two men meet by accident on a bridge early one morning. Once they were best friends -- but Tommy and Jim haven't seen each other for 35 years. Back then, Tommy and his sister were abandoned by their mother and later by their abusive father, and Jim, who lived alone with his religious mother, went to high school and became a socialist. Then one winter, Jim started to doubt whether he was deserving of the friendship. Now Jim is standing on the bridge, fishing, when Tommy drives by in his expensive new Mercedes. "I Refuse" follows both men during the course of the fateful day that follows.

There's two reasons I want to read this book: the first reason is the author's name. It sounds like when Per Petterson was born the nurse's asked his mother for a name and she channeled her inner kitty and they stuck with Purrrrr. It's a fun name to say. The second reason I want to check out this book is because it sounds like an interesting story that spans a lifetime. Having read only the description above, I'm hoping the story shows how the men have changed over the years and how who they were as young men gets twisted and molded by the challenges of life. This interests me because who I thought I'd be when I was sixteen is already worlds away from who I am now: a prematurely balding twenty-three year old with an unhealthy addiction to pizza.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor's dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favorite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is deeply funny, poignant, and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.

I don't know how this book made its way into my Goodreads list, but I'm glad it's there. This novel sounds quirky enough in its story-telling to keep my attention (which is comparable to a chipmunk on speed), and hopefully it's accurate in its portrayal of someone whose brain works entirely differently than mine. While Christopher plans everything, I can't even guarantee that I'll have clean underwear for tomorrow, so hopefully this will help me get to know someone who actually uses their left brain.

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Mikhail Bulgakov's devastating satire of Soviet life was written during the darkest period of Stalin's regime. Combining two distinct yet interwoven parts—one set in ancient Jerusalem, one in contemporary Moscow—the novel veers from moods of wild theatricality with violent storms, vampire attacks, and a Satanic ball; to such somber scenes as the meeting of Pilate and Yeshua, and the murder of Judas in the moonlit garden of Gethsemane; to the substanceless, circus-like reality of Moscow. Though completed in 1940, "The Master and Margarita" wasn't published in Moscow until 1966, when the first part appeared in the magazine "Moskva." It was an immediate and enduring success: audiences responded with great enthusiasm to its expression of artistic and spiritual freedom.

Sometimes I search through the dark and scary catacombs of my phone and I'll find a random phrase written in my notepad app. Sometimes it's a song I've forgotten about, other times it's a mysterious clue about a password on a website I forgot I signed up for, and occasionally it's a detailed account of how pathetic my bimonthly workout routine is. I like to imagine there's a gnome that creeps into my room at night and writes these random messages in my phone because it's a secret code that will some day lead me to Half-Life 3 or a fountain of chocolate and puppies (which, come to think of it, is a very bad combination), and that eventually he'll write something that'll make me rich. That is the story of how I found out about The Master and Margarita. I peered into the depths of my phone and saw MASTER AND MARGARITA. How it got there I'll never know, but I've learned not to insult the gnome by ignoring his recommendations, even though he can be a bit eccentric at times and recommend movies like Battleship.

Blankets by Craig Thompson

Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, Blankets explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith.

This one is a two-fer. It's a graphic novel and it was recommended by Jessica, so by reading it I'll be knocking two resolutions out at once. If I had no self-respect I would say booya, but I don't want to seem too white on my own blog, so I'll say cowabunga instead. Now the random passer-by on this blog will say "Oh, he's not a loser, he's just a ninja turtle. I see." Jessica just told me that this will be a great book for me to read at this stage in my life, which really makes me wonder where she thinks my life is. I'm not in Wisconsin, Jess, and I've never had a brother. Get your head straight, dimbo Just kidding I love you Bigfoot please stop hitting me.

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

What are my qualifications to write this book? None really. So why should you read it? Here’s why: I’m a little fat. If a thin guy were to write about a love of food and eating I’d highly recommend that you do not read his book.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to end my TBR post with this one, since there are other books that are probably better suited to this list, but let's be real: few things make me happier than food. There's my lovely girlfriend, the smell of rain on pavement, sweatpants, that instant where your windshield-wipers match up perfectly with your music, and pictures of Kim Jong Il looking at things, but that's pretty much it. Honestly, food might be tied at the top of that list with Bigfoot. I asked Jessica what she thinks makes me happiest and she said, "me and pizza," confirming my hypothesis. I love Jim Gaffigan's stand-up, so hopefully this will be great too.

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There's other books that I've planned on reading, such as The Martian by Andy Weir, the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness, and a couple classics by Vonnegut, Dickens, and John Green Orwell, but these are the ones I'm dead-set on reading.

Hopefully by this time next week I'll have my review of Stephen King's The Stand, but that might mean March, so who knows.

Feel free to comment below with some books you plan on reading this year!

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