Sunday, November 29, 2009

The List Master

Summer is the season most aligned with book reading. I, on the other hand, get no time in the summer to read, for good reasons as our family is usually hoping about in the sun chasing some fun activity or another.

So Winter is my time to buckle down and hit the books. This time of year, I excitedly form my list of books I plan on tackling as the days grow short and the wind whips through the barren branches:

1. The Polysyllabic Spree, Nick Hornby - The list master himself. I'm into this one right now - it's a series of Hornby's contributed columns from Believer. Hornby breaks down a year in his life and tells you about the books he's bought and read. But this work is more about his love of books and the act of book buying and book obsessing.

Upcoming reads:

2. The Black Book, Ian Rankin. It's Edinburgh, it's dark, damp and cranky. Not a book for sunny beaches and rum drinks with those little umbrellas in them.
3. Sleepless Days, Jurek Becker. An East German schoolteacher is confronted with his own mortality - am I in heaven or what?
4. The Black Prince, Iris Murdoch. For my birthday, I bought myself a used 1973 first-edition hardcover in great condition. I plan on wearing white cotton gloves as I read this.
5. Chekhov - Selected Stories. It's winter so oh, yes...there will be Chekhov. The greatest writer that ever lived IMHO - a fine doctor too. I have at least three different Chekhov short story anthologies. They're like paper towels - if I see them, I buy them because I can't live without them.
6. Portnoy's Complaint, Philip Roth. I know, I know - I've never read it. I'm only human.
7. Airframe, Michael Crighton. A good friend gave me this to read because I work with airplanes. Too bad the late Crighton aligned himself with the crazies toward the end.
8. The Finest Stories of Padraic O'Conaire,'s the whole damp cold thing.

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