Honestly: I don't know why I do this to myself. Right now, I have 23 library books checked out for myself. In that total of 23 there are three poetry books, four essay collections, one book about writing, the non-fiction book Unbroken for which I've been on the hold list for over a year and so can't bring myself to crack open, two books about shade gardening, one recipe book, and eleven novels.
One, The Gilly Salt Sisters, I just finished reading last night; it needs to be written about and returned.
The poetry books are either in the bathroom drawer or in the car (for small moments of reading of course) and will likely get finished.
Who knows on the others.
Plus there's this fact: On the list I keep in my email of books I want to read soon, there are 127 novels.
Having books you want to read is, I'm starting to think, a form of hoarding. The fact that for the most part they're only titles on a list (and hence take up no real, physical space) doesn't make a difference to the psychological impact all that wanting-to-read has. All of those novels form a sort of psychic weight in my soul. It's silly, but they call to me: come. sit. ignore your life. Sometimes I think: I need a surgery to recuperate from. Something that required me to lie around for the vast majority of my day, for a good six months. Maybe then, if I had no one to take care of but myself (and my incision) I could read all those books.
And then I remember that is sort of crazy, because taking care of other people makes life good, and that's what I mean about my want-to-read list being almost as dangerous as a hoarder's mounds of trash: it could, if I let it, take over my life.
Isn't that odd? Reading is good. Reading is awesome. It is the longest-running affection (excluding my mother) that I've had in my life. "Loves to read" is a life-long part of who I am. But, like all things, it requires moderation. And while I'm able to moderate the time I spend reading, I am hopeless at not adding to the list of books I want to read. You know—after my surgery.
These are all books that are coming out sometime in the fall which I am adding to my I-want-to-read-this-book booklist:
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving. A man who's lost everything becomes a hospice worker and ends up on a road trip. What really, really made me want to read it is Evison's essay about the book on the Amazon page. There are holes in our lives that can never be filled--not really, not ever. And yet, we have no choice but to try to fill them. We must drive on in the face of debilitating loss, crippling guilt,
overwhelming hopelessness. Because to give up is to be dead. You should read the essay (down in the reviews section) even if the book sounds hopelessly awful to you.
The End of Your Life Book Club. Nonfiction about the writer's mother, who is dying from pancreatic cancer, and the conversations he had with her about books. If I am ever dying of cancer I want to have conversations like these, most likely with Becky. I'm being flippant there to cover up the fact that the book description gives me a lump in my throat and chills up my spine.
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. What? What?!?! A new book by Barbara Kingsolver? Shut the front door. I don't care what it's about; I will purchase it. Then I might set it right on top of my still-unread copy of The Lacuna. Remember: it's not only lists of books I want to read. It's also actual piles.
Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan. I probably won't buy this one, even though I love the cover's very 70's-ish
feel; it makes it look like a book that's been sitting in someone's attic for twenty years and now is sitting on a table at a yard sale. You know it will smell very dusty-bookish, which is of course one of my favorite scents.
Ancient Light by John Banville. I usually don't like books about movie stars. Of course, I don't think John Banville will read like, say, Judith Krantz.
The Turning by Francine Prose. Francine Prose writing a YA novel? I'm not actually certain how many teens will like it. But I will.
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde. Jasper Fforde writing a YA novel? I will like this. Teens will like it too.