Right now I am home for the first weekend in a very long time, so I am cleaning up and clearing out. It seems I do this all the time and yet there is no change in the amount of objects floating around my apartment, overused or underused. We've all experienced this (see: George Carlin) but I have a particular problem that I think some of my comrades might understand. I have, in my studio apartment, at least a few hundred books that I have not read. I bought or borrowed them all in moments of good intention. These are books that I want to read; books that should be read. They look good. Here is a random sample of books I have here but have not read.
- Biographies of Ghengis Khan (two, actually), Edith Wharton, Edgar Allan Poe, and Chick Austin
- The last couple books of Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series
- The collected stories of Amy Hempel, John Cheever, Leonard Michaels, Isaac Babel, Anton Chekhov, and H.P. Lovecraft
- Bleak House, Oliver Twist, Tristam Shandy, Don Quixote, The Aeneid, The Sun Also Rises
- The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Krik? Krack!, Song of Solomon, The Savage Detectives
- Historical accounts of the Dust Bowl, the colonization of Africa, generations of Chinese women, pop music, Lewis and Clark, US Prisons, and Wilderness and the American Mind
- You don't even want to know about the poetry.
- And you REALLY don't want to know how many works by and about Mark Twain I bought in the throes of new-nerd-job ecstasy and haven't felt like hunkering down and reading after 40 hours of talking about Sam per week.
- Workbooks to learn Spanish, Chinese, and how to use my Nikon D50.
- The magazines! Oh, the magazines. Damn you, Granta; damn you, American Scholar; damn you, Georgia Review. I love and hate you for coming without warning.
I am pathetic. I essentially have an entire library in here and I continue to acquire more books. There's a heavy emphasis of late nineteenth century (European and American) and essays (almost all of which I've read, thank goodness) but otherwise: I have a lot to learn that I have already committed myself to studying. This apartment is a record of everything I want to know but have no time to study. If someone would only donate food to me for a year, I think I could conceivably quit my jobs, read about a book a day, and catch up with my intentions. Any takers?
Anyway, just as soon as I finish Inkheart, The Little Friend, I Know This Much is True, The Quiet American, One Ring Circus, and the style issue of the New Yorker, I guess I'll start with Genghis and work forwards in time.
How do you people with more than one room even keep a head on your shoulders?
P.S. The movies from China and the Netflix queue will be year two. Couch buddies welcome.