Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Last December I wrote:

It's always embarrassing for me to look back on a previous year's reading intentions and realize how quickly I deviated from them. My main goal for next year is to read books I already own, and, failing that (no doubt before the first week of January ends), get the books from the library, and, failing that, get them used. We'll see how well I do.

Other than that, my reading priorities are to read more nonfiction and more short stories--I've been stockpiling both for a few years now, and it's past time to stop saving for a rainy day. In particular, books pertaining to some aspect of American history and collections by Eudora Welty, Alice Munro, Graham Greene, Alberto Alvaro Rios, Tobias Wolff and Andre Dubus are going to spend time off the shelves.

I also want to read Shirley Hazzard's Transit of Venus, Cormac McCarthy's Suttree, Elio Vittorini's Conversations in Sicily, Dostoevsky's Demons, either Lempriere's Dictionary or The Pope's Rhinoceros by Lawrence Norfolk, both of the Bohumil Hrabal novels I brought back from Prague, and Amos Oz's memoir. I want to read Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier because I feel guilty for never having read it and Huston Curtiss' Sins of the 7th Sister because it looks like Southern Gothic fun.

I'm not doing too well on the resolutions. I've completed only eight non-fiction titles this year, although I realized yesterday afternoon that I have eight non-fictions currently in progress. I can't imagine that I'll finish more than two or three of them before the end of the year.

I'm not going to read 365 short stories this year as I'd planned unless I devote myself to nothing but stories for the rest of the year. Doubtful.

Of the novels I listed, I've read Closely Observed Trains by Hrabal, but bailed after one chapter of I Served the King of England, even though L. laughed his head off throughout the entire book.

I'd take consolation in the fact that 60 percent of the books I've read have come from my personal collection, but ten of those were purchased just this year.

And my reading priorities since returning from Utah have shifted completely from what they were just a couple weeks back.

I definitely need to ignore all new books for a year or two so that I can make a dent in what I already have.

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