Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stealing Confessions of the Unread

So one of my favorite blogs is The Bathroom Monologues. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but it is a flash fiction site with great super-short stories. Occasionally haikus. However, sometimes the author, John Wiswell, talks about his writing process or other reading-related items. One of his most recent posts resonated with me: Confessions of the Unread. As John writes,

According to Goodreads, I present possess 141 books that I haven’t read. The desire to read everything I hear about is so strong that even if I only borrow, buy or steal a small fraction of it, I wind up with boxes of books. And among those books are a few that I feel particularly ashamed for not yet reading. Most of these are hard classics. Some are so long that I argued myself into reading long works from my industry instead. Such excuses work in the short term. In the long term, literary guilt is powerful. I'm publishing this list to further pressure myself to get some culture....
What we really need is a National Novel Reading Month.

(Similarly, FT Magazine, recently published photos of writer's libraries. Junot Diaz said this, "Naturally, I buy more than I can read, so there is always at least a 100-book margin between what I own and what I’ve read. What’s cool is that I’ve caught up a couple of times. But then I’ll buy too much and the race starts again." Nice to know one is in good company.) 
So: here's my list of shame. They aren't all hard classics, but some are gifts which I feel particularly bad about not having gotten to. And some I've carried through roughly five moves and really need to get to:
Possession by A.S. Byatt (which I started this summer and then put aside)
Ulysses by Joyce
Guys and Dolls and other writings by Damon Runyon
Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (this one is particularly damning, since she's one of my favorite authors)
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
The Portrait of a Lady by James
2666 by Roberto Bolano
The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Collected Stories of Katherine Mansfield
Africa in my Blood by Jane Goodall
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski (I have been carrying this around since 2005. I WILL READ IT.)
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents by Julia Alvarez
Jane Eyre by Bronte
The Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
The Omnivore's Dillema by Michael Pollan
Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maughm
From Hell by Alan Moore (I'm in the middle of it, but I keep wanting to read it in bed and it is TOO BIG.
Local by Brian Wood
Plus I have 4 books edited by Manley and Lewis that are short stories by female authors that I need to get around to. And there are a few others floating around somewhere. Good thing I'm taking vacation next week to go curl up with cats and read. 

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