Eat Your Heart Out Ralph Wiggum*

New year’s resolutions have become sort of a joke. We make them and break them before the end of January. They usually involve quitting something we love (like eating) or starting something we hate (like exercise). Or, they are too vague to mean anything. One year, I resolved to be a better person. In business terms, that is what is known as a “not very actionable item.” What is my measure of success? That people on the street don’t throw rotten food stuffs at me? That I have a lower cholesterol level?

I need a resolution that I won’t forsake in February. And, preferably one that I can mark complete.

Last year, my friend had a brilliant idea of creating a book list for the year. The list, at 12 books long, is manageable. The rules are pretty simple: Create a list of books (either the “should reads” or those pesky books you have wanted to read but never seem to have the time for) and then read one book a month. Obviously, you are not limited to only reading these 12 books all year. Get done early and move on to a non-list book. My friend had great success last year (although there were a few books on his list that turned out to be duds, at least he can say he’s read them). He is doing it again this year, and blogging about it along with his other new year’s resolutions at Resolutionisto.

And, since I’m a huge follower and want to do what all the cool kids are doing, I created my own list for 2011. I tried for a balance of genres, eras, and authors. Electronic books only as I’m an avid devotee to my nook. I’ll review the food-related books for you.

  1. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. Feed by M.T. Anderson
  3. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
  4. Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
  5. Cod by Mark Kurlansky
  6. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  7. Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking by Herve This
  8. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  9. And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails by Wayne Curtis
  10. The Wapshot Chronicles by John Cheever
  11. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence
  12. Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

I have two other books that I will be reading sometime during the course of the year: On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee and The Magicians by Lev Grossman. The McGee book is a huge reference-type tome (896 pages in total). The plan is to read bits throughout the year—not as a typical novel—but skipping around to various sections as needed. Wish me luck!

*For those living without a TV or any pop culture references in their lives, the title of the post refers to my favorite line from The Simpsons when Ralph Wiggum says, “I can’t read.”

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