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I’m finding it more and more difficult to find time to read. On my commute to work I’ve got numerous podcasts to keep me company. And at home I’ve got shows on TV, movies, and other distractions. I’m frustrated by how little I read these days, and to compensate I seem to stockpile books on my bookcase and in my Amazon ‘Saved for Later’ list. In an effort to read more and do other things less, I’m going to make a list of ten books I intend to read before the end of 2013 – plus some other books I’m going to buy once I’ve finished those ten …

1. From the Land of Green Ghosts by Pascal Khoo Thwe

I wanted to read something about Burma, and had to choose between this and The River of Lost Footsteps by Thant Myint-U. Apparently the latter is more of a straight-on history, whereas this is akin to Wild Swans in that it’s an autobiographical family journey that also reveals a lot about developments in Burma over the last few decades.

2. Snow Country by Yasunori Kawabata

Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Kawabata is a Japanese literary giant, and this is his most famous work.

3. The Quiet American by Graham Greene

This has been sitting on my bookshelf since I ordered it after watching the film adaptation starring Michael Caine. Time to read the book.

4. Some Prefer Nettles by Junichiro Tanizaki

A Japanese classic showing the struggles between tradition and modernity during the Taisho period of Japanese history. It’s very short and I gave up reading it once, but the time has come to get through it!

5. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

An absolute classic travel novel, the source of inspiration for one of the greatest movies ever made.

6. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Another classic I’ve never got round to reading.

7. The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg

I bought this from Peirine Press on a recommendation and haven’t looked at it since.

8. Hiroshima by John Hersey

Based on a series of New Yorker articles I believe, this is a raw and powerful account of post-atomic bomb Hiroshima.

9. The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa

A classic of Italian literature.

10. Ali and Nina by Kurban Said

Paul Theroux recommends this book about a love affair in Azerbaijan.

And then, and only then, will I allow myself to buy five more books:

11. Murder in Samarkand by Craig Murray

This was mentioned in a travel doc by Simon Reeve, and looks like a very engaging read.

12. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I’ll buy the David McDuff translation, as after reading the first pages of that and the Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky translation the former seems more attuned to the British reader, with the latter having more of an American ‘twang’.

13. A Farewell to Arms (or For Whom the Bell Tolls) by Hemingway

I want to read something else by Hemingway after enjoying The Old Man and the Sea so I’ll get one of these two.

14. Jupiter’s Travels by Ted Simon

Looks like a very engaging travel book.

15. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen

A travel book with a twist? It also seems shrouded in controversy.

And one more …

16. A Season With Verona by Tim Parks

This looks like a heartwarming and interesting account of Italian football culture, without being too factual.

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