Friday, June 03, 2011

The many books I thought I'd've read by now but haven't

So many I thought I'd be over and done with. So many I had planned. But there just isn't enough time.

Martin Chuzzlewit, Charles Dickens. I was distracted, first by something shiny, something new, then by something relatively short, which I needed in order to feel I'd actually accomplished something. It's so bloody long. Even though some scenes do drag on, it is really quite funny. I picked it up again today, determined to stay focused, to finish it. I'm still a bit disoriented trying to remember who's who and what last happened, but confident it'll come together.

The Doll, Bolesław Prus. Purchased directly upon its release in February. This was going to be my end-of-winter read. Something richly Slavic, to remind me where I come from. But I was daunted by its size (~700 pages).

The Pale King, David Foster Wallace. This was going to be my big spring read. In fact, my other half (himself an enforcer of the Income Tax Act) and I were going to read it together (and we almost never do anything together — sigh). I haven't even purchased this yet.

The Man Who Watched Trains Go By, Simenon. In January it was apparent I was suffering from a surfeit of Simenon, but I bought another to keep on standby. And for a couple weeks already I've been feeling ready. There's just no time. (And there's Mr Chuzzlewitt to lay to rest first.)

The End of the World in Breslau, Marek Krajewski. Because I liked the first book of his so much, I invested in more.

Europeana, Patrik Ouředník. On my wish list for several years already, I finally ordered it along with something or other.

The Book of Disquiet, Fernando Pessoa. I actually had to tear myself away from this one, because it didn't feel right — not fair to me or the book — to be embarking on a fourth or fifth concurrent read.

The Fragile Mistress, Leora Skolkin Smith. This is a review copy. Because the backdrop — 1960s Israel/Palestine — fascinates me. Plus another of hers.

X'ed Out, Charles Burns. I picked this graphic novel up for J-F at Christmas, because then I'd get to read it too. He was finished with it in 2010. I started to look at it, but didn't feel like I had the solid, uninterrupted couple hours it deserved, so I put it down.

The Elephant's Journey, José Saramago. I treated myself to this book for my birthday more than half a year ago. What am I waiting for? Almost an imperative now that I have a review copy of Cain on my e-shelf, also for which I am awaiting a perfect, quiet time.

I should've had time for all this.

This is not a catalog of the unread books lying around the house (there are so many more). These are but the ones I seriously, reasonably expected to have made my way through before summer took hold (which it hasn't quite yet).

I have not yet finished The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann. I've forgotten which Bolaño it is I have sitting on the shelf. I want the new Fred Vargas novel. I vow still to someday finish The Adventures of Amir Hamza. A coworker brought me the 2nd and 3rd books following A Game of Thrones. I'd thought this might be the summer of Pynchon (in particular, Against the Day); now I'm thinking rather not.

This week I shall see Chuzzlewitt through. I will write about A Polish Book of Monsters. I will write about The Oregon Experiment. I will make sense of Humankind.

And then I will read some more.

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