Whitney’s Shelf

Whitney, a couple of years ago. She is even more beautiful now.
Whitney, a couple of years ago. She is even more beautiful now.

Can I just tell you how much I love my sister-in-law, Whitney? She’s basically amazing. She’s a talented artist and has a great sense of style. She is always willing to help people out, and has a genuine sense of how to do that most effectively (too rare a gift, I think). She was especially helpful to us during some difficult times, just by being there. She is beautiful and funny and almost everything wonderful. She’s not particularly gifted at being geeky or ridiculous, but that’s ok. I have plenty of other people in my life who can handle that. She has a few different advanced degrees in some very different things.

This last week, my little family visited my in-law’s, including my sister-in-law. She was about to move to Pasadena, and let us stay in what was about to be her old room while she slept on the fold-out couch in the living room. (She claims it was no big deal, since the room had originally been my husband’s anyway, but it seemed like kind of a big deal to me. See how gracious she is?)

ANYWAY– while staying in her room, which was beautifully curated, if I may say so, I found myself spending a lot of time staring  at her bookshelf. I kept seeing books I wanted to read RIGHT THEN, but there were so many good books on her shelf, I couldn’t possibly read them all in the short time we were there. I mean, I’m a fast reader, but there were a LOT of books worth reading on her shelf. So I decided that would be my new project: reading Whitney’s books. There are 66 of them. I’ve read more than that this year already, so I think I could probably finish them by the end of the year, or next year at the latest.  So I figured, I’d read Whitney’s books, write a little something about them here on the blog, and maybe coerce her into saying something or reading along with me. What do you think of that? Whitney’s books aren’t the only things I’ll be reading this summer, but they’ll be an ongoing feature.

The first book I’ll write about is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs (and I’ll tell you why that is when I review the book). The rest of the list is below, arranged in no particular order aside from how I found them on her shelves (she organizes them according to book cover color– see how stylish? What attention to aesthetic detail? My books are arranged according to how they came out of the moving boxes.). Leave a comment and tell me which other four I should read next. I’ll talk to Whitney and let you know what she thinks we should read. She’s kind of busy because she’s a neurology nurse (I KNOW!!! What CAN’T she do?), but she’s willing to participate as she has time.

Whitney and a suspicious-looking balloon.
Whitney and a suspicious-looking balloon.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Dubliners by James Joyce
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggers
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Watership Down by Richard Adams
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
The Art of Drowning by Billy Collins
Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
You Shall Know Our Velocity! by Dave Eggers
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope by Jonathan Alter
Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon
How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers
Polite Lies: On Being a Woman Caught Between Cultures by Kyoko Mori
She Got Up Off the Couch: And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Paris in the Fifties by Stanley Karnow
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Loser Goes First: My Thirty-Something Years of Dumb Luck and Minor Humiliation by Dan Kennedy
With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene B. Sledge
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough


4 thoughts on “Whitney’s Shelf

  1. Its sounds like you like her. 🙂 I think this is a lovely tribute and many of these are books I’d like to read so I’m excited to read your reviews.

  2. This looks like a great list. Except As I Lay Dying. I think I’m still traumatized from the last time I read that one. I’ll be interested to hear what you think about Angela’s Ashes. I haven’t read it, but most Irish scholars tend to dismiss it, so I’ll be glad to know what a real person whose opinion I trust on multiple levels thinks of it. 🙂

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