I’m the type of person who creates long lists–sometimes written or typed, sometimes just in my mind or in conversation–of the books I want to read, the movies I want to see, the shows I want to watch, almost as if I’m creating the sort of cultural to-do lists that–because they are unending, because filmmakers and authors never stop working–will never be completely crossed-off. It’s like running a marathon, but as soon as you get close to the end, you hear that somebody has just tacked on a new mile.
But “culture” and “entertainment” shouldn’t be stressful, should they? And my reading lists don’t stress me out, no matter how long the list. They give me a sense of purpose, a constantly revised goal. Some people keep working long into their 70s because they know that slowing down and retiring will probably kill them; they need something to do, some stress to keep them going. Well, my friends sometimes joke that we can never die because we still have too many books left to read. In fact, it’s comforting to know that there is always a new experience waiting for me, a new book or movie, a new author or filmmaker.
And part of the fun of creating Reading Lists comes with sharing them. What have you read, and what do you still want to read? What’s next on the lists? What are the Top Ten Books of the ’90s, or the Top Horror Films of the ’80s? We sometimes think of “charts” only in terms of sales listings, but I’ve come to relish the conversations that I have with friends about not just the books and movies we want to check off on our reading lists, but the lists (the “best,” the “worst,” the definitive canons!) that we create and endlessly shape and revise.
This page will collect a variety of reading lists (past, present, and future), and will share some of the many book/movie/TV reviews and reflections I’ve written over the past several years.