March Madness: Book Stack of Imminent Reproach


Also: A Bit of a Pickle; Painted Myself Into a Corner; Bit Off More Than I Could Chew; or It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.

I am forever admonishing female friends who call themselves selfish, stupid, lazy, mean, bad mothers, etc. that this kind of self-denigration is hurtful because it’s not true. (Ironically, it’s the exceptional few who are selfish, mean, etc. who never make jokes at their own expense, and instead trumpet any good deed while never admitting a foible. Blergh, and get more therapy, are what I have to say to that.) How many men to you hear saying stuff like this?

So, I am not going to say any of the many self-criticizing things I might about my current biblio-conundrum., I actually think I go on book benders most often when my life feels least in my control. A book bender says I hope the future has more time for reading, and backs this up by piling up evidence of the priorities in my life.

Life’s been pretty life-y around here for some time. We’ve had multiple bouts of stomach flu, lice, an emergency family trip, and I was cajoled into a volunteer gig a whole lot more involved than the one I’d hoped for. As I said, life. In the face of the recent avalanche of mostly little things, my response has been to crave more reading time and to commit to more books. So my situation is not even as it often is when I buy more books than I can read. This time, it’s that I’ve committed to reading more books than I think is possible even when life isn’t bustling.

(An aside: WHY is life bustling in February? We’re supposed to be hibernating. This is a yin, not a yang season. February around here was like December. I blame global warming and the ridiculous non-wintry winter we’re having.)

Here, then, is my To-Read pile, which doesn’t even include everything I’ve said I’d read. I’d write more, but I have 4 chapters to go in Bleak House for tomorrow.

Please understand; not really complaining. Too much to read in too little time hardly qualifies as a problem.

Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. for The Morning News Tournament of Books
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson because it was recommended by a writing teach to me in the 90’s, and has been on my shelf since then, and a friend’s reading it now
Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy. I pressured a friend to read John Crow’s Devil. She pressured me back to read this.
The Last Brother by Natacha Appanah. For TMN ToB
Bleak House by Dickens for this readalong (darn you, Patricia)
Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Stories reading a story at a time to follow up on Wise Blood and Flannery from January.
The Best American Comics 2011, ed. Alison Bechdel. For one of my book groups. I love comics, yet I rarely even like many of the indie types usually represented in these compilations. I’m trepidatious about reading this one.

Not pictured: complete manuscript of colleague in writing group, partial manuscript of good friend, The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, the ten other books from The Tournament of Books that I haven’t read.

4 Responses to “March Madness: Book Stack of Imminent Reproach”

  1. Amy Says:

    Wow, I never thought of it that way, but I think you’re not alone in the roots of your book-buying binges. I had a minor one two weeks ago, yet today went into a bookstore and came out with nothing, even though–or because–I have a free weekend coming up to read as much as I can. Notice I said as much as I “can”, not as much as I’d “like”. But still–first free weekend in a long time takes the pressure off. I loved the Barnes book and have the Proulx on deck.

  2. Steph Says:

    Dude, I completely know what you mean. The past 3 months have been the death knell for reading round my parts, and while I know that finishing up my dissertation so that I can finally just get my PhD already is a good excuse to not have much mental space for anything else, I still feel a wee bit hollow for lack of reading. It’s definitely fallen by the wayside in favor of less taxing things like watching tv and, oh yeah, sleeping…

  3. Jennifer Reese Says:

    I think you might be onto something. The fewer long swathes of time I have to actually read, the more little bits of time I spend reserving books at the library or ordering them. I did quite a bit of both today!
    “Sense of an Ending” is at the top of my list, though I might listen to that on an upcoming drive.

  4. sm Says:

    not a fan of the ‘best american comics’ anthologies either, but LOVED ‘both ways is the only way i want it’