Cat's Cradle-- Kurt Vonnegut (blurb about satirical future involving midgets and calypso... it interests me.)
Brave New World-- Aldous Huxley (another satirical future involving sex and fetuses in bottles. I realize that sounds weird, but I'm going to read it BECAUSE it sounds weird.)
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim-- David Sedaris (I've read some of his other books, which are funny, short nonfiction essays. To balance out all the dystopian sex and oddness.)
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo-- Steig Larsson (It's also a movie. About computer hackers.)
Basically all the books on the list (there's a lot more I haven't listed/do not want to read/have already read) are either:
--Dystopian sex and oddness (redundant list is redundant)
--Foreign and/or poor people overcoming adversity (fiction and nonfiction). I know this is going to make me sound like a horrible human being but I do not care. Inevitable Holocaust memoir, memoir about basketball in the ghetto, memoir about being homeless with an alcoholic father yet growing up to be a Harvard professor, memoir about land mines in Afghanistan and moving to the US, book about being the only Indian kid in a prep school, book about a Hispanic girl being the only one in her family to finish high school, the list goes on.
These types of books just depress me and then bore me to tears (actually, most nonfiction does. At least the latter. Save Freakonomics and David Sedaris). The only thing that can be felt for these characters is a kind of pity, I don't understand what the administration thinks we should get from these books. Maybe I'm dense. Maybe I'm coldhearted. They don't affect me in the way they "should" (or in the way it is presumed they will...) and that makes me feel a bit guilty. But I'd rather the books I read be a sort of fantastic escapism--be it to seventeenth century English romance or the crazy midget-run future--not things I have to think about. Annnnd again that sounds awful. I understand the subjects of these books are important, they have an audience that I'm sure will be profoundly moved by them, they're just not my cup of tea.
Am I right or am I dense?**
* Which, if it keeps raining like this, should be soon. P&P is a good book to read while it's raining.
** I encourage you to think of a third option.