Over the past few months, I've been making a conscious effort to read books that have been sat on my shelves for quite a while. These books tend to have been sat on my shelves for one of two reasons. They're either a) over a respectable amount of pages b) books that I think I will really enjoy. I, of course, always buy books with the intention of reading them but some books get read sooner than others and when you're an avid reader it's very easy for books to pile up.
I've recently added around 30 or so books to my physical 'read in 2016' TBR shelf (that I will do a post on if anyone is interested in its contents) but there are a few tomes that have missed the move because I need further convincing to read them within the next 9 months or so. I'm here today to share these books with you in the hope that you will insist on me reading them sooner rather than later. Please leave your pitches, however brief, in the comments below.
m i d d l e s e x by jeffrey eugenides
Middlesex tells the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides, and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family, who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City and the race riots of 1967 before moving out to the three-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret, and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction.
I bought Middlesex a fair few years ago now from The Last Bookshop on Bristol's Park Street and yet it still remains unread. Eugenides tends to be one of those Marmite authors and a lot of his readers say that whilst they may enjoy one of his titles, they tend to dislike his others. I read The Virgin Suicides about four years ago now and I liked it. I worry that at over 500 pages, Middlesex may be too dense a family saga for me to really enjoy. I have heard mostly good things about this title, so part of me thinks I should just give it a go and see for myself. What do you think?
N W BY ZADIE SMITH
Set in northwest London, this tragicomic novel follows four locals - Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan - as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. In private houses and public parks, at work and at play, these Londoners inhabit a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end. Depicting the modern urban zone - familiar to city-dwellers everywhere - NW is a quietly devastating novel of encounters, mercurial and vital, like the city itself.
I've had two of Smith's books (NW and White Teeth) sat on my shelves for a few years now and I honestly don't have a good reason for it, at all. I bought NW from a charity shop for £1.50 a few years ago and it has sat on my shelves ever since. I'm really not sure why I haven't got round to reading this yet, especially as I love novels where place plays a huge part in the events that unfold. I know that Smith's writing style has been described as 'experimental' in some ways but that's usually something I enjoy so maybe I should just take the plunge?
t h e l u m i n a r i e s by eleanor catton
It is 1866, and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the NZ goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events [...] Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky.
I have a big book complex, evidently. I bought this in a charity shop last year because everybody was talking about it and it was being nominated for awards and such but I've been put off by the sheer size of it. Jennie and about a billion other people have said that it's totally worth the 800+ pages so maybe I should just suck it up and go headfirst into this? Force me into it, pals!
n o r w e g i a n w o o d by haruki murakami
Toru is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friends years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.
I picked a few of Murakami's books up from a charity shop a few years ago because he was one of those authors that I had always heard about online. Whilst I know very little of him, I have heard a lot about his inability to write female characters and I think that's why his books have been sat on my shelves unread for as long as they have. Now is the time to state your case for not only this title but The Wind Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore respectively, as those are the others that I own. Will I appreciate his writing style or should I donate them to someone that would enjoy them more than me?
And now it's your turn to convince me to read the aforementioned books! Why are they worth reading? What am I going to enjoy about them? If you'd like to do this post yourself, go ahead! I'd love to covince you to read some of your own unread books!
If you'd like to scroll through all of my book blog posts then you can.