Books I've Been Meaning to Read for Ages

When I set my goals for the year, getting around to reading the books I've been "meaning to read" was high on my list. I thought it might be fun to solicit some feedback on my pile - so if you have a recommendation for what I should (or should not) read next, holler! 

The first book I'll address on my list is the one I couldn't track down for the picture above, and that's A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I avoided this book like the plague because, even though people looooooove it, it just sounds so heavy and I don't know if I can handle the terrible abuse the main character apparently suffers - especially for 800+ pages. However, I have heard The Heart's Invisible Furies is reminiscent of this book for many readers, so I may just cave. Because John Boyne's latest is an ABSOLUTE TREASURE.

Another chunkster, the Pulitzer winning Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry has come up several times on the What Should I Read Next podcast with guests that I share similar taste in reading. I recall the miniseries being a pretty big deal in my youth, and I think it would be fun to read something completely different from my usual contemporary fiction.

A room with a View by E.M. Forster has been on my pile since June, and given that it's a rather slim volume, I should be able to check that one off my list easily!

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath always makes me think of the defining film of my youth, Heathers, as it's Cliff's Notes are sitting on the table in the first Heather's bedroom upon her demise. And the buzz around Maggie O'Farrell's current memoir (also on my TBR) has rekindled my interest in finally reading this classic, as the title I Am, I Am, I Am is taken from a quote in The Bell Jar.

The Remains of the Day is one of my favorite books, and yet I have not read another novel by Ishiguro. Never Let Me Go seems to rise to the top of most recommended titles, so I'm hoping it lives up to the former.

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy can be filed under 'classic novel that wouldn't have been assigned reading and sounds rather fun and romantic.' Plus the most recent film version looks lovely, but I reading the book first is always preferable.

Years ago, I remember reading that I Capture the Castle was one of J.K. Rowling's favorite books and put it on my TBR. In the years that I have consistently moved it down the queue, I continue to hear raves about this book and am determined to get it read this year!

I try my best to keep up with great children's literature, and somehow I missed catching The Golden Compass train - see also: Percy Jackson. Are there any others I should catch up on? I did start The Mysterious Benedict Society series with my son, and would definitely recommend!

Last, but not least, I have been meaning to read another Barbara Kingsolver. The Poisonwood Bible is one of my all time favorites, and I also loved Prodigal Summer and The Bean Trees. But, it's been at least a decade since I reacquainted myself with this beloved author and I really want to read Flight Behavior. I scored this copy for ONE DOLLAR on the books for sale shelf at the library!!


  1. All of those books are on my reading list. The Bell Jar is an exception because I read it last year. I enjoyed more than I expected. When you are ready, definitely give it a go. I read A Little Life. Although it was hurt my heart, I still recommend it.

    1. It's interesting how the same books are rising to the top of the list and The Bell Jar seems to be one of them! Ugh, this is why I've put off A Little Life - it never seems like the right time to start a book that will hurt your heart...

  2. Aaah - story of my reading life! A Little Life is a bit like HIF, but WAY more brutal. And kind of lacking the occasional humor of HIF. It's amazing, but get ready.
    I haven't read any Kingsolver and want to! I remember hearing about Flight Behavior (or re-hearing about it, if you will) on WSIRN podcast and I added it to my list. That was like a year ago, which is how reading backlist generally goes for me!

    1. If you read a Kingsolver, I'd definitely read The Poisonwood Bible!

  3. I already commented on Instagram with four very enthusiastic thumbs up for Lonesome Dove and I Capture the Castle.

    I'm not even tempted by A Little Life as I don't think I want to put myself through that much pain. I can also read "harrowing" in small doses.

    The Bell Jar is a book that I've always meant to read. I'm going to keep my eyes out for a copy.

    Finally, some reading with kids recs: I read the first 5 or 6 Betsy-Tacy books with my daughter, and we loved them. I totally missed out on them as a girl. We stopped when Betsy got to high school because that scene was a little confusing to my seven year-old, but I'm eager to circle back someday. I'd also recommend The Penderwicks series and the Because of Mr. Terupt books (though Mr. Terupt is for slightly older kids).

    Happy Reading!

    1. Oh gosh, I LOVED Betsy Tacy as a kid! I should definitely read those w/my 7 year old... I got The Penderwicks from the library awhile back, but didn't get around to it before it was due. I'll pick it up again and check out Because of Mr. Terupt, I've never heard of that one - thank you!