The Saltwater Book Review

Non-School Books I Want to Read This Semester


I’m an English major, so I always end up reading quite a few novels over the course of a semester. Next up is my final semester, so I decided to fill my last credits with classes I haven’t had the chance to take while I was doing my major requirements. I’m taking an art history class, a human rights class, a history class, and two creative writing classes. I just looked over my reading list, and it’s much smaller than usual, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to read more novels as entertainment this year. Usually I’m lucky if I have time to read more than 2 just-for-fun books over the semester, but this semester will be different (I’ll see to it.) I made a list of 10 books available at the library that I want to read before I graduate:

1. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
Both The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex are two of my favorite books, and I’ve been meaning to check this out since it was released a couple of years ago. Hopefully I’ll enjoy this one as much as his others!

2. Beloved by Toni Morrison
This one is pretty obvious. It’s a classic, and I’ve never read any Morrison, which is a shame.

3. Ripley Under Ground, Patricia Highsmith
I read The Talented Mr. Ripley during the fall of 2011, and because I’m terrible at reading series (what in the heck is the plural of ‘series’? serieses?), I still haven’t read the rest of the Ripley books. I find Highsmith as a writer fascinating  and I’m intrigued by Ripley’s weird sexual hang-ups–who doesn’t love a homicidal latent homosexual?

4. The Stand, Stephen King
I’ve been interested in reading this since I read On Writing, where it’s mentioned. All I know about it is that it’s a really long book about the end of the world by Stephen King, which is probably enough to know that it might be an entertaining read.

5. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
I haven’t seen the movie version of this, but I’d like to, and because I have an obsessive read-it-first mentality, this one is going on the list. Plus, it seems like an okay place to start with Capote, although I do want to read In Cold Blood soon, too.

6. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
I’ve already seen the movie version of this. Damn it.

7. I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe
I vaguely recall hearing controversy about characterization in this book, so I’m interested to see how I react to it. Also, it’s a college-y book, so I should read it before I graduate.

8. The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith
If you know me, you need no explanation for this one. I adore Zadie Smith. I think she’s a genius, but so far I’ve only read On Beauty and White Teeth. I of course want to read her latest, NW, but since it’s a new release it’s harder to come by at the library, and it’s harder to find it used (which is how I buy most of my books), so I figure I’ll read an older one first.

9. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
I swear, Persepolis is one of those books I’ve taken out over and over again from the library since I was a freshman only to return it because I’ve had no time to read it. I was actually introduced to the title in my freshman English class, because we did a unit on graphic novels, but I was never able to read it. I did read, like, half of Maus, though.

10. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Another classic. I read a lot of Lawrence when I took a class on modernist literature, but I haven’t gotten to this one yet. It has a history of being banned for indecency, which is a big draw for me, but then again, Lawrence was kind of a misogynist jack-off so we’ll see about this one.

And that’s it! I hope I can get to them all, but if I can only read a few of them, I’ll be happy. A lot of these are books that have been on my to-read list since I was in high school. Finally getting around to reading them all would make me feel maybe a little bit more ready to graduate.

I’ll probably go to the library as soon as I’m back on campus this weekend, so which of these do you think I should check out first?