Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Reading Assignment: Books to Read Someday

If you're like me, you own books that  you fully intend to read, but haven't gotten around to yet.  I don't buy many books, because I prefer to use the public library as a sort of personal library/free storage system. Why should I own a copy of Ulysses, or Great Expectations, if the library will keep one for me? Despite that, the bookcase in my room is overflowing. Side note: Jon and I don't agree about bookcases.  He likes all the books in one layer, so they can be seen.  I prefer my bookshelves to be double and triple packed. My mom and her family were masters at maximizing bookcase space.  To me, a bookcase with just one layer of books on the shelves is unpleasantly empty and this is the only area in my domestic environment in which I prefer clutter.  Anyway, I like to think of my books as insurance, should we ever have to live in a town that doesn't have a public library.

I like my bookcase messy.


This is not an "on the nightstand" post.  If a book is on the nightstand, it will definitely be read soon.  If it's in the bookcase, twenty years might pass before I get around to reading it.  For a while, I was making new year's resolutions to read at least one unread book from my collection. Here are a few of the things in my bookcase that I haven't read yet.



Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell.  The BBC movie version of Cranford is so damn good, that when I saw this in a used book store somewhere, I immediately bought it.

Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust.  Oh God!  I have owned this enormity (two thick volumes) since 19-freaking-90.  I started Swann's Way, on a vacation, but Proust is not the best choice for beach reading.  Volumne II served for years as a prop for my bedroom window.  It got to the point that the window didn't look right unless that fat volume of Proust was wedged under the sash.  Then one day, after a violent rainstorm, my nephew, who lived with us at the time, handed me the soaking wet Volume II and said, "I hope this wasn't near and dear to your heart"  (he really used those exact words) and I almost sobbed.  I was planning to read that!




Spirit of Place by Lawrence Durrell.  Appropriately listed after Remembrance of Things Past, as I can't think of Durrell without referencing my sister-in-law's father's remark: "I read him the first time when he was Proust."  Actually, I am fairly sure Spirit of Place is a travel book, and then Durrell's brother Gerald published a novel and impishly titled it Fillets of Plaice--which I have read.

The Newcomes by William Makepeace Thackeray.  I bought it at one of those Green Valley book fairs back in 2001, or thereabouts.  Nothing like a million-page Victorian novel, should you ever be consigned to a place with no libraries.

Henry Esmond, also by Thackeray.  Bought around the same time as The Newcomes.  I was on a Thackeray kick that year.  Actually, I'm on a Thackeray kick every year.

Dangerous Ages by Rose Macaulay.  I bought this impulsively at Daedalus Books in downtown Charlottesville.  I had just finished Towers of Trebizond by the same author and knew I would love anything else she had written.

In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin.  A gift from a friend.  I love travel literature, and this is one of the classics of that genre.

What's in your bookcase that you haven't read yet?

11 comments:

  1. Hemingway, Faulkner, Eudora Welty and more. Our bookcases are very similar. I really should go through mine and see what's actually on there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love Welty, but I've never warmed to Hemingway. You know my feelings about Faulkner.

      Delete
  2. I don't own anything I haven't read. This is very grim because sometimes my library stack runs out. I don't mind re-reading what I have, but my library "to read" list is several pages long (as I assume yours is) and I'd like to read everything on it before I die.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My "too read" list is very long too! I'm worried I won't have time to re-read all the books I loved a lot before I die.

      Delete
  3. I'd have to go through all of my bookcases - there's too many know remember! I know there's Shadow of the Wind, a few Bill Bryson books, a whole bunch of classic lit...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have several shelves of unread books...because I keep finding so many from the library I rarely get around to my own. My bookcases are double stacked -- I would triple stack if I could but they're not deep enough!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! Anything you find at the library gets priority over what you own. I triple stack by arranging the innermost layer, so the books are flat against the back of the book case.

      Delete
  5. One should always overstock a bookcase if only for visiting winter relatives with an insidiously overwhelming adversity to traipsing around outdoors. I always keep to hand a dog-eared copy of Pilgrim’s Progress – J. Bunyan, just in case an elderly aunt or uncle, lingering in hospital with a severe case of near death, should need help reaching the other side. I can also heartily recommend a few chapters of both Don Quixote - M. de Cervantes, as well as the extremely tedious Ivanhoe – W. Scott should Mr Bunyan strike a chord in the most unlikely of places.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so thoughtful to have books for guests. I always pack my own books, but sometimes it's nice to peruse one's host's library.

      Delete
  6. Plenty here to read, including "Crossing to Safety" and "The Country of the Pointed Firs and "Claudius the God."
    I like your use of the library--a storage system, never thought of it like that!

    ReplyDelete