Monday, September 13, 2010

The ever impossibly lengthening to-read list

The piles at my house--on several dedicated to-read shelves, on my desk, and since the summer on my side of the dresser--are really and truly out of control. Who gives a damn? Not me. As long as nobody turns me in as a candidate for a very special episode of A&E's horrifying show Hoarders, I'll keep tooting along on my merry reader's way.

And now I have in my hands The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, Beyond Katrina by Natasha Trethewey, Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcón, Genesis which is the first book of the Memory of Fire trilogy by Eduardo Galeano and which I've been searching for for quite a while and finally just found in a newly issued edition, and I'm all like, which first, and do these go at the top of the pile because I'm crazy excited to get at them, or do I move through some of the others that have been waiting a while and which after all I was crazy excited about when I got my hands on them?

So do I really need this? More books to obsess over as they come along this fall?

No sweat, though. Turns out there aren't too many, on this list at least, that interest me. I read and was repulsed by Tom McCarthy's first novel Remainder for, among other things, its vaguely fascist vibe, so his new one doesn't appeal. Nor will I rush to read Sigrid Nuñez's new novel after having been subjected to her beautifully written but politically infuriating "madness of the 60s" masterpiece The Last of Her Kind. There are petit-bourgeois-family-angst novels; there are quite a few anticommunist titles, natch; there's Philip Roth his head should root in the soil like an onion; there's bleh this and yecch that. But oh oh -- oh oh -- wait -- on the other hand.

On the other hand, here comes a new one from Joyce Carol Oates, and with a great title: Sourland. And By Nightfall, Michael Cunningham's new novel; I've had mixed feelings about his work over the years but he does write some painfully beautiful sentences which isn't enough to sustain a novel but is part of why I'll still sit down with whatever new book he offers. And a debut collection, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, by a young writer I've been hearing great things about, Danielle Evans.

If only I didn't have to waste my days working for a wage.