Books Not Read

Oh how the day goes by. John Burroughs may have said it best:

“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see.”

Recently, what’s been resonating with me most in that statement is all the books I want to read, because I am burying myself in lists and reviews and never finding the time to take in all that I want, at least all while still thinking the thoughts I want, walking the walk I want, and seeing the friends I want. We can’t have everything all the time, eh Burroughs, you sly ol’ dog you.

The purpose of this post is to share with you, dear reader, what I have not been able to read, but totally would if I had the time. Maybe I can convince one of my many, many devoted followers to pick it up, and then drop by and let me know how it is and how worth my time it will be. Ah, to read or not to read.

Tom McCarthyC

McCarthy’s newest was on the Booker shortlist and has drawn comparisons to Pynchon and Joyce’s Ulysses. Right there, I should be reading it, right? Probably. Sorry McCarthy, Remainder was fantastic, but I still need to catch up on my aforementioned Pynchon before I can consider reading an homage to him. Then again, if this is the future of avant-garde fiction, perhaps I should get on board.

Scarlett ThomasOur Tragic Universe

 This book has like one of the coolest covers I’ve ever seen, but I couldn’t get much further. I’m clueless as to why, she seems up my alley as well – reviews cite her books as exploratory, with plots that touch upon the concepts of deconstruction, physics and philosophy. Just writing that sentence made me want to give this book another try.

Hilary Theyer Hamann – Anthropology of an American Girl

A first time author! This book is causing a sensation, but I fear it may be out of my demographic. It’s a coming of age tale for a teenage girl, dealing with the social traps of high school and falling in love. Perhaps I’m too cold and old to relate? I admit I am willing to get caught up in the hype of an author who is a self published success story — such dedication to the art is always worth our time.

Gary ShteyngartSuper Sad True Love Story

This one stings the most, because I really tried this time. This is an author whose every book seems to fascinate me more, but for whatever reason (perhaps his funny last name?) draws me away. Super Sad deals with a loser of a narrator, in a satirical future where characters can check each other’s “status” (social, wealth, health, etc.) with a PDA-like device aimed to connect people to each other but ultimately draws them apart. Shtyengart creates a man, out of step with how interaction is changing, but nevertheless falls hopelessly in love with someone not in his spectrum. This, too, deserves another chance.

Sometimes, thankfully, a moment comes and tells you that the reading choice you made was the right one. While I was neglecting these other wonderful titles, I instead gravitated towards Nicole Krauss’ newest, Great House. And it’s everything I wanted it to be, and also reminded me what it feels like to be justified in reading what we read:

“When I at last came across the right book the feeling was violent: it blew open a hole in me, that made life more dangerous because I couldn’t control what came through it.”

If that doesn’t make you wish there were more time in the day I don’t know what will.

–          Tony

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