It’s reached the point where I now feel just plain overwhelmed. I went on a holds-placing frenzy, and now as a result I have so many books littered in the hallway of our just moved-into house that I feel overwhelmed and at a loss of where to start. I’ve reacted by smuggling home children’s books from the Learning Center at the B&G Club, the Domain of which I count myself as Master and Overlord (today one of the other part-time staff said that the chick who previously had my job lasted a week, before leaving in tears… it made me feel pleased as punch, there on my knees, picking up the scattered Uno cards). This week I’ve devoured many childhood favorites: “The Boxcar Children,” “By the Shores of Silver Lake,” “Ramona the Pest,” “Anastasia’s Chosen Career,” “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil something-or-other,” ‘Bridge to Terabithia,” “Bunnicula” (a brilliant novel–I read this in 1st grade, apparently it’s 6th grade reading level… daymn, was I smart stuff–I feel like Greg in Tori’s “Pretty Good Year” just thinking about it, they say you were something in those formative years, hold onto noting as fast as you can.
Despite this impressive-sounding list, sadly enough, everything else sits untouched and unread. The enormous Salman Rushdie book I already know I should return, because there’s no way I’m ever going to read it. “Lolita” and “Ulysses,” the two main competetiors for the Why Haven’t You Read This In Full Yet?! Feel Ashamed category (these two are the others on this shameful list. To be fair, I read “Lolita” in sixth grade, it made a nice wooshing sound as most of its literary value and merit flew straight over my head). Faulkner’s “The Wild Palms.” A big pile of other random books I’m not even going to list because I know there’s no way I’m going to have time for them so they’re just going to end up getting returned. And god knows what other holds-arrival notification e-mails will be sitting in my inbox tomorrow.
It’s not that I haven’t been reading, though. I read Onetti’s “Los adioses” in English (Balderston translation), a weird and truly wonderful novella about a basketball player with tuberculosis. My goodreads account claims I’m reading “Pride & Prejudice”, which I did, for about ten minutes, back wen I was sick as a dog on its deathbed over the weekend with a flu so bad that even my eyes hurt, making even reading difficult (the ultimate sickbed activity). “P&P” is one of those books I’ve started 10 times but have never made it past the 50-page mark… now that I’ve seen the wonderful TV series, I’m wondering if it may be time to just give up the ghost, say “I Do Not Care for Jane Austen” (as opposed to what I really think, which is that Jane Austen really does just sucks).
So basically I think I’m going to tackle “Rios profundos” next, another book recommended to me back in the day by my advisor, mostly because I really miss reading in Spanish, and because I was helping Corey with his Spanish homework the other day, and was annoyed by how many times I had to confess that I wasn’t exactly sure of the words for “blender” or “walnut” and had to shamefully retreat to an online dictionary. I have the Spanish version, checked out very kindly by Corey from the PSU library (the absence of Summit in my life has by far been the only sad thing about not being a student anymore).
And then what? I had an epic plan there for a while to read “Ulysses” and Homer’s “Odyssey” (the Fagles translation) at the same time, alternating between chapters. I don’t know how into that plan I am anymore; it feels a little gimmicky–plus those are damn heavy books, and it’d be super lame to carry them around in my everything-but-the-kitchen-sink backpack all day). Who know? I’ll worry about it then, I guess!
One small yet significant (to me at least!) success story is that the books I own are proudly stacked and shelved. Nothing makes me feel more at peace or at home than a shelf full of books. It’s the very first thing I did when we moved in, even before putting away my clothes. Here is the first shelf:
Staying ALive- Real Poems for Unreal Times
The Story and its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction (huge green Bible-sized compilation from CTY days)
The Art of the Tale
Life of Pi
Respiracion artificial (stolen from Argentinian in Ecuador–I have officially become a person who borrowed a book and never returned it)
The Duchess (Mom’s)
La muerte de Artemio Cruz
The Safety of Objects
Cien Anos de Soledad (Corey reading this one right now and greatly enjoying it!)
Asi que pasen cinco anos
The years of Rice and Salt (I had two copies of this–why?)
The Yellow Wall-Paper and Other Stories
The Woman Warrior (taken from free box at Wesleyan)
Se’s Come Undone
How Far Can You Go? (<3 David Lodge)
Kafka’s Complete Short Stories (the typeface in this book is so bad that a ton of periods are missing… so in sixth grade or something I went through and replaced a lot of them with a pen. It makes reading the stories so annoying and distracting that I think I am just going to have to buy a new copy)
Extremely Loud and Everything Close
Everything is Illuminated
There is definitely a story behind every book purchased, about the time in your life when you read it, and so on…