I Can Read Whatever I Want?!? A Sabbatical Reading List

Front Cover - Zebulon FinchLikely StoriesWe need to talk. You may want to sit down. Here, let me take your hand. Now listen. You know how I feel about you. This isn’t easy for me to say. But I am going on a sabbatical. For four months. Uh-oh. You’re crying. Please don’t cry. What’s four months? I’ll be back in June. Our hearts will only grow fonder, right? Oh, now look at me. Here come the waterworks. Listen, I know it will be tough, but we’ll make it. We’ll make it if we believe in each other.

Yes, readers, yours truly is heading off into the sunset (before, you know, riding back from the sunset), to finish the second volume of The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch. Now, because it’s a historical novel, I’m up to my chin—actually, the stack is well over my head—in research. Those many, many, many books aside, I suspect I’ll still find time to read a few more for fun. And even better, books that have no bearing on work whatsoever.

The ebooks I plan to read include stuff from Megan Abbott, Susanna Clarke, Kathe Koja, and Colson Whitehead, but let’s face it: my stack of physical books is prettier to look at. Have you read any of these? I cannot wait.

sabbaticalAll the President’s Men, by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward

A gift from a former congressman . . . signed by both Bernstein and Woodward. What? No! But yes.

Lads: A Memoir of Manhood, by Dave Itzkoff

The harsh true story of the boom years of Maxim magazine, the same years during which I was a regular contributor. Got a hunch this one’s gonna sting.

Lullaby for the Rain Girl, by Christopher Conlon

One of my favorite living writers. I’ll never stop beating the drum for this guy. This limited-edition novel is hand-numbered and has a built-in bookmark ribbon. I feel so fancy.

Meat, by Joseph D’Lacey

Garbage Man is one my favorite horror novels of recent years. D’Lacey is my kind of nut.

Coma, by Robin Cook

This book boasts one of the covers that traumatized me most as a kid. Couldn’t resist this new edition when it came out. Time to beat down those childhood demons.

Dawn to Dusk, by Ray Bradbury

I’ve been saving this one for years. Includes Bradbury’s old screenplay, The Dark Carnival, which became a short story, which became Something Wicked This Way Comes, plus other rarities.

Vicious, by V. E. Schwab

I met Ms. Schwab recently and had a smashing conversation with her. Then, on a recent trip to the Tor offices, they offered me a free copy. This was fate telling me to read the damn thing.

Carrion Comfort, by Dan Simmons

I’m the hugest Simmons buff and have been eyeing this anvil for a while.

The Night of the Moonbow, by Thomas Tryon

Tryon has sort of faded from the literary memory, but his novel Harvest Home is one of my all-time favorite shockers.

Onward toward What We’re Going Toward, by Ryan Bartelmay

Ryan is a buddy of mine from college and it’s a bit shameful it’s taken me this long to read his debut. Sorry, pal!

The Third Reich, by Roberto Bolaño

I’ve still never read a Bolaño. This one sounds fascinating and plus it involves war games, a subject in which, as my colleagues I can attest, I have a rather peculiar interest.

Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace, by D. T. Max

Like many people my age, I read (while wincing) every article I could about the passing of DFW, but I haven’t had time to read the (so far) definitive book about him.

Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh

This book has been sitting on a table in my house for a year or two, and every once in a while I page through it and am delighted. This was a gift from a publisher, though I can’t remember which one. See? All these publishers I have? I’m so big-time! I guess I should go write.

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About the Author:

Dan Kraus is Booklist's Editor of Books for Youth. He is also the producer and director of numerous feature films, most notably the documentary Work Series, and the author of several YA novels, including Rotters and Scowler, both of which won the Odyssey Award. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielDKraus.

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