Saturday, July 25, 2009

I'm ba-ack ...

... with not the promised final Met Museum post, but a books list. Yesterday I reorganized and, sigh, added to my to-read piles. The sigh is weighted with:
  • regret at all the books I'm starting to recognize I won't get to over the course of my vacation, which is now down to its final week;
  • abashedness (a word?) at my recalcitrance, my recidivism I should maybe call it, on the desperately seeking more books syndrome, which I'd hoped was ebbing but to whose permanence I might as well concede;
  • shame that I haven't written at all during my vacation and fear that in the week left I still won't;
  • defensiveness that I haven't written and won't, because hey I'm a worker and I was tired and why the hell shouldn't I just take a rest during my paid days off;
  • aggravation that I've got lots of household and personal chores to take care of and that's most likely how I'm going to spend the bulk of this last quarter of my vacation;
  • awareness, consolidating in fits and starts, that these four weeks of reading, hanging, chores, not-writing, are taking on the shape of the dreaded turning point, and will probably inevitably culminate in an unavoidable stock-taking and decision-making about how to proceed with the work of my life;
  • embarrassment that much of this is likely occasioned by something as banal, trite and immature as horror at my upcoming birthday and the impossibly advanced age I will on that day attain;
  • and, aw, probably just non-profound mushy-headedness, because I woke up at 5:30 a.m. yesterday and 4:30 a.m. today, both times unable to get back to sleep, and so I'm in a bit of a daze. Sigh.
So, as I was saying, I added to my lunatic to-read piles, and I thought I'd report on the additions. Who knows when I'll get to them. It's impossible to plan this out, as evidenced by my current detour into reading about Metropolitan Museum after two days there sparked my curiosity. It goes like this. I go like this, a victim of my own enthusiasms, a disorderly dilettante of a reader. And so. Most of these are not new books, have been on my to-read list for a long time, but until yesterday's library-and-used-bookstore outing I hadn't had them here with me. Now I do. Five are fiction: What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage, A Long and Happy Life by Reynolds Price, Briefing for a Descent into Hell by Doris Lessing, Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawai; and one new book, In the United States of Africa by Abdourahman Wabero. Two are non-fiction: Planet of Slums, a couple of years old from the indispensable Mike Davis, and Blood Relations: Menstruation and the Origins of Culture by Marxist anthropologist Chris Knight.