Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What I'm Not Reading

It's amazing how much reading I am not getting done at the moment. Almost every day I'm not reading some book or other; some days, I don't read two or three. Books continue to accumulate, but now I've cut out reading, that time-consuming middle man, they just go straight onto the shelves. How's that for efficient? Among the books I haven't read lately are:

The Broom of the System, David Foster Wallace. I bought this for fifty cents from the library. When I asked the librarian why they were getting rid of it, he said it was because it hadn't been borrowed for ages. I told him that this was untrue as I myself had borrowed it not six months ago. The librarian shrugged and looked over his special librarian glasses at me - and apparently that had to suffice for an answer, because he then became mute and withdrawn. Anyway, now the book is sitting on my shelves, not being read, and the patrons of Whitehorse Manningham Library will have to find their own copy not to read.

Original Bliss, A.L. Kennedy. Another book deemed unworthy by the library that I have rescued from not being read by other people so that it can not be read by me.

The Reader, Bernard Schlink. I borrowed this because Inga Clendinnen writes about it in her new collection of essays, Agamemnon's Kiss, which is a book that I am reading so I hesitate to mention it here. However, not only am I not reading The Reader, I am also not reading Clendinnen's essay on The Reader because I don't want to spoil the book, assuming that I actually get around to reading it sometime. For now, though, I remain a non-reader of The Reader and a non-reader of Clendinnen's reading of The Reader.

Sixty Stories, Donald Barthelme. I can't tell you how many happy hours I have spent not reading this book. Certainly the bits I have read of it have been pretty good, but this kind of book really comes into its own just sitting there collecting dust. Given my equivocal attitude towards short stories, it was perhaps ambitious of me to purchase a book featuring no less than sixty of them. The good thing is that most of the stories are only a few pages long, so it is quite possible to go for months without reading Sixty Stories, pick it up and read it for ten minutes, then go back to not reading it. Once I've finished not reading Sixty Stories I may pick up the companion volume, Forty Stories, and not read it too.

How to Read and Why, Harold Bloom. I'm not reading the absolute shit out of this one, although a cursory glance at its contents indicates that it has plenty of that substance to spare. Seriously considering writing - or possibly not writing - a book titled How Not to Read "How to Read and Why" and Why.

Cross-posted at Sars.


Ampersand Duck said...

That was an inspired piece of writing. I just thought about my books in a whole new way.

BikeProf said...

Very smart. I definitely recommend not reading everything Bloom has written.