Monday, July 30, 2012

Rex & Jake's 50-Book Reading Challenge

Many of you know Rex. If you don't, you should. He's a terrific individual.

But he's also a son of a bitch.

When he heard (from me) that I had an ongoing list of books I wanted to read before I die (Gravity's Rainbow, Infinite Jest, etc), Rex announced that he could and would read them all before I did. This would explain the week we spent in Mexico with Rex referencing "Ulysses by The James Joyce." As of this writing, he has read less than 40 pages of it (which beats my total page count of 0), but the challenge still loomed. Soon enough (as in just last week), the ante was upped when it was proposed that we challenge each other to the 100 books every person should read, made up by some blog/newspaper/thing. Realizing that we didn't care about half the books (fuck you, Scarlet Letter), we decided to make our own (surprisingly well-rounded) list of 50 books that neither of us have previously read and then "race" to finish the collection. We don't know what the prize will be yet, and this is going to take us years, but, as of September 1st, this is the our 50-book reading challenge list:
  1. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  2. Foundation And Empire by Isaac Asimov
  3. Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  4. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  5. Fool by Christopher Buckley
  6. Women by Charles Bukowski
  7. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  8. The Stranger by Albert Camus
  9. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
  10. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
  11. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  12. Absolutions by Patrick DeWitt
  13. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  14. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
  15. I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan
  16. The Beautiful And The Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  17. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  18. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  19. To Have And Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
  20. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
  21. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  22. Nobody Move by Denis Johnson
  23. Ulysses by The James Joyce
  24. Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  25. Immortality by Milan Kundera
  26. The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula Le Guin
  27. The Farthest Shore by Ursula Le Guin
  28. Tehanu by Ursula Le Guin
  29. Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
  30. Life Of Pi by Yann Martel
  31. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
  32. Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann
  33. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  34. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  35. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  36. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  37. Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon
  38. Half Asleep In Frog’s Pajamas by Tom Robbins
  39. Skinny Legs And All by Tom Robbins
  40. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
  41. Barrel Fever by David Sedaris
  42. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  43. Anthem by Neal Stephenson
  44. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
  45. Hell’s Angels by Hunter S. Thompson
  46. Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut
  47. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  48. Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
  49. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  50. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
First person to finish the list wins.

Let's do this.


Eyvette said...

That is a nice looking list you got there. Are Rex and Celeste dating yet or what??

Jake Kilroy said...

Thanks! It should be a lot of fun until Moby Dick. As a writer, I think I should read it. As a person, I say fuck that entirely.

Also, no, Rex and Celeste are not dating, so I can only assume that the stars, as well as additional cosmic forces, are not yet aligned. However, if Celeste promised her hand in marriage as a prize, Rex would read all 50 books in a week, I bet/guess/jest.

Two Hands said...

I've challenged myself to read all of Vonnegut's novels this year. So far I've read Deadeye Dick, Slaughterhouse 5, Galapagos, Bluebeard, Timequake, Cat's Cradle, Mother Night, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, Slapstick, Hocus Pocus. All I have left are Sirens of Titans, Player Piano, Breakfast of Champions, and Jailbird, with the last one being the only one I've never read. So obviously I'm saving that one for last.

In other news: sweet list, bro.

In even other news: Blood Meridian get's like 8 thumbs up. Kavalier and Clay gets like 4 thumbs up.

Jake Kilroy said...

Well, hey there, Zuhair!

Giving yourself a refresher course in a particular author seems like a pretty radical thing to do up. I imagine you're in a terrific mood if you're reading Vonnegut at a constant. Thumbs up.

I've heard crazy good things about Kavalier & Clay and Blood Meridian, though what I've heard about the latter makes it sound like it's going to put me on a fucking edge. Stoked.