Thursday, October 07, 2004

My Black Sea

I'm having severe reading list anxiety. I have too, too much to read right now. And more stuff on the way. Here are the candidates:

The Promise of Happiness - Justin Cartwright
The Closed Circle - Jonathan Coe
Bitter Fruit - Achmat Dangor
Fleshmarket Close - Ian Rankin
The Honeymoon - Justin Haythe
Trawler - Redmond O'Hanlon
Like A Firey Elephant - J. Coe
The Accidental Woman - J. Coe
A Touch of Love - J. Coe
The Dwarves of Death - J. Coe
Swann - Carol Shields
1974 - David Peace
1977 - D. Peace
1980 - D. Peace
1983 - D. Peace
Sanctum - Denise Mina
The American Boy - Andrew Taylor
Big If - Mark Costello
That Which Was - Glenn Patterson
Brass - Helen Walsh
Our Man in Havana - Graham Greene
The Wife - Meg Wolitzer
The Anatomy School - Bernard Maclaverty
Troubles - J.G. Farrell
Brother of the More Famous Jack - Barbara Trapido
A Ship Made of Paper - Scott Spencer
Samaritan - Richard Price
Christie Malry's Own Double Entry - B.S. Johnson
Boyhood - J.M. Coetzee
Youth - J.M. Coetzee
The Great Influenza - John Barry
The Song of Names - Norman Lebrecht
How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World - Francis Wheen
What's the Matter with Kansas - Thomas Frank
Gulag - Anne Applebaum
The Parts - Keith Ridgway
A Few Short Notes on Tropical Butterflies - John Murray

But I have more on the way:
I'll Go To Bed At Noon - Gerard Woodward
Vol 3 Graham Greene bio - Norman Sherry (still need to read vols 1 & 2)
The Plot Against America - Philip Roth
Travels with My Aunt - Graham Greene
Brighton Rock - Graham Greene

And I really want to buy:
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Great Fire - Shirley Hazzard
The Fortress of Solitude - Jonathan Lethem
A Bit on the Side - William Trevor

And I realize that is maybe a year's worth of reading. But there's no way I'll not acquire scores more things to read. I was on a nice pace of 50 books a year. But I've fallen behind. Since I can't play around on the internet at work, I do it when I get home at night and in the morning. And that cuts in to reading time. This cuts into reading time.

I didn't put Neal Ascherson's Black Sea on the to read list. But I should. I have it. I sometimes feel like the Black Sea when it comes to reading. If I understand it correctly, the Black Sea is anoxic because there are too many rivers flowing into the Black Sea and filling it with more nutrients than it can absorb. I think its like that with me and the books. I have to much printed matter. (Haven't even discussed the newspaper and magazine sitation. Its almost unbearable.)

I'm almost done with Nicholas Royle's Antwerp. I'm not too happy with it - The Director's Cut worked much better. And I'm a few pages into Our Man in Havana - I put it down after a few chapters a few years ago. But with all the stuff I read about the new Norman Sherry bio and the stuff about his 100th birthday, I've decided to give it a try again. Someone wrote something (who? what? Its all a blur) about how relevant Greene still is - and Havana was cited on the folly of intelligence (and with the whole Iraq - WMD thing, I thought it worth a look again).

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