I'm prone to obsessively plotting out my reading and composing lists of books I want to get to within the next week/month/season/year. On occasion I actually manage to stick with a short-term list long enough to complete a few of its titles before I go on yet another freefall with whatever title I've chosen on the breath of the moment: I do believe that "Read at Whim!" ought to be a moral mandate. Listing is just a neurotic habit, a quick way of filling the white space on an empty page or the back of a handy envelope.
I'm plotting like mad this month. Between the dropping temperatures, which never fail to inspire a bout of new school-year resolutions, an ever-changing schedule and a bit of horrifying news my daughter shared with me this week about a classmate (and the stomach-churning that accompanies the conviction that the girl's parents simply must be told), I'm spending more time fretting over future reads than I am with the books I already have in progress.
Two more acts to go in The Taming of the Shrew. A re-read of Joyce's "The Dead" is complete, but while it's a brilliant story, I have no burning desire to blog about it. I'm almost to the mid-way point of Little Big Man ( instead of almost to the end as I should be) and while I'm no longer entertaining thoughts of returning it to the library unread, I don't find it as engaging as I'd hoped. I have not started In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower. I can't discover how Harriet Hume will ruin Arnold Condorex (and deservedly so) if I don't continue on to chapter two in my current Rebecca West. Mark Haddon's Spot of Bother came in for me at the library and if it weren't for the fact that the library's computerized calling system was in harassment mode over the weekend, the book would still be waiting for me there.
New books gathering around me while I wait for my mood to improve:
Golden Country by Jennifer Gilmore. It looks wonderful and I'd not heard one word about it until MFS sent me her extra copy.
Indiana by George Sand. The Slaves of Golconda selection for late October.
The Strange Necessity: Essays and Reviews by Rebecca West. How is it possible that none of the libraries here own this one? James Joyce and Marcel Proust are discussed within, as well as her "literary uncle" H.G. Wells.
Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose. The Birds Fall Down and Black Lamb and Grey Falcon are the West titles included in Prose's "Books to be Read Immediately" list at the back.
Ordered from Amazon and expected by the weekend:
Housekeeping vs. the Dirt by Nick Hornby. A kindred soul in the can't-stick-to-the-list department.
Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. Learning that much of this one is set in North Carolina tipped me over into Must Buy Immediately Before I Cancel Free Amazon Prime territory instead of waiting for my next free books voucher. I've convinced myself that this is the book I want on the flight out to Utah early next month.
And what are the books I'm listing for future attention?
Lots and lots of classics, especially French classics. It's embarrassing how many I own and have never read.
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