To paraphrase Jane Austen, B has been “my constant companion for these 38 years.” We’ve influenced each other tremendously and shared many things during those years, but as readers we have always been on two independent paths. Most of the time we are in our own reading worlds, pursuing our own reading interests, but occasionally our paths will cross and we’ll read the same book. However, we talk about books all the time, and have wonderful book discussions about the ideas that are ignited by our current reads. Sunday afternoon, when the world was a deep gray and very rainy outside, we spent another enjoyable afternoon talking about the books that mean a lot to us.
In the last few months, B has read three books I had recommended to him. He enjoyed them in a different way than I had enjoyed them, but that made our discussions all the more interesting. On Sunday, I wrote down 6 books that he would really like me to read, and I decided to add them to my reading year as my own personal “Reading Challenge.” I’m curious to find out what it was about each book he wants me to experience, and I’m looking forward to learning a little more about B in the process.
So here is the list of books I will call “B’s Challenge:”
Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera
- Immortality, by Milan Kundera
- Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, by José Saramago
- The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, by José Saramago
- The Enchantress of Florence, by Salman Rushdie