I love a good list. This one is especially satisfying, as it’s made up of books I already own and intend to read or reread before buying anything new.

  1. In the Unlikely Event – Judy Blume
  2. Deep Water – Patricia Highsmith
  3. Amsterdam – Ian McEwan
  4. Levels of Life – Julian Barnes
  5. Transgressions: Ten Brand-New Novellas – edited by Ed McBain
  6. The Best American Short Stories 2016 – edited by Junot Diaz and Heidi Pitlor
  7. The Candy House – Jennifer Egan
  8. My Sunshine Away – M.O. Walsh
  9. A Psalm for the Wild-Built – Becky Chambers
  10. A Head Full of Ghosts – Paul Tremblay
  11. The Pull of the Moon – Elizabeth Berg
  12. Winter Solstice – Rosamunde Pilcher
  13. The Word is Murder – Anthony Horowitz
  14. Elric of Melnibone – Michael Moorcock
  15. Affinity – Sarah Waters
  16. The Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy
  17. Crow Fair – Thomas McGuane
  18. A New Race of Men From Heaven – Chaitali Sen
  19. A Song of Ice and Fire – George R. R. Martin
  20. This Time Tomorrow – Emma Straub

It’s nice to see the titles together like this, because what usually happens when I finish a book is that I start casting about for the next one, going, No, no, no, as if I’m channel-surfing through my library. I need to be more organized. I thought if I set myself the goal of reading what I own, I can at least begin with a narrowed-down set of choices and avoid the dazed and dazzled experience of browsing on Amazon or at the local bookstore. Also, of course, it’s wasteful to buy a book and neglect the part where you actually read it.

So, here we go and I’m starting with the Highsmith. Domestic bliss from page one, in which the narrator describes his drunken wife dancing with another man: Vic didn’t dance, but not for the reasons that most men who don’t dance give to themselves. He didn’t dance simply because his wife liked to dance. His rationalization of his attitude was a flimsy one and didn’t fool him for a minute, though it crossed his mind every time he saw Melinda dancing: she was insufferably silly when she danced. She made dancing embarrassing.

Ooo, delicious. Pass the popcorn.