I can’t do it.
Everyone else’s posts have been so eloquent, so persuasive and passionate in their offerings, and I find myself reaching, futilely, for something that hasn’t been said, some book that will prove my devotion to the form, or at least to a specific writer or genre.
But I cast back over the books I read in 2006 and cannot remember them properly, only fleeting impressions remain. I am a fickle, capricious lover, and I hop from genre to genre, author to author, poetry to fiction, biography to educational text. I read the back of a bottle of Pantene conditioner 365 times in 2006, and I loved every moment of it.
So instead I would like to beg your patience and ask you to allow me to tell you about some of the books I currently have on my nightstand, in the towering To Be Read pile we all seem to have and rarely get to the bottom of. I am passionate about these books, because they are still waiting for me, untouched, unknown, and therefore rich with possibility. In order the way I think I’m going to read them, and yet know I won’t:
1) Bel Canto by Ann Patchett – bought at The Vero Beach Book Center
2) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – also from Vero
3) Ian McEwan – borrowed from Janna Underhill too many months ago
4) The Abomination – also from Janna
5) Jesus Land – bought three weeks ago from my local Borders 3 For 2 Table
6) The Inheritance of Loss – bought at my local Borders on the recommendation of a bookseller from the Bal Harbour Books & Books
7) Anna Karenina by Tolstoy – Vero Beach, one I’ve always wanted to read
8) Three Junes by Julia Glass – Local Borders, 3 For 2 table
9) We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver – It will be my fourth reading, but my first from a copy I own, bought on a layover at the Atlanta airport returning from NYC
10) Collected Stories of William Faulkner – bought from indie bookstore in Apalachicola, meant to read on beach, fell asleep instead
11) The Midnight Disease by Alice W. Flaherty – kindly given to me by Mitchell Kaplan of Books & Books in Coral Gables
12) Gilead by Marilynne Robinson – Local Borders, 3 For 2 table
13) Lisey’s Story by Stephen King – given to me at Christmas by my husband
14) Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss – Local Barnes and Noble
15) Labyrinth by Kate Mosse – given to me by my editor, Jackie Cantor, and edited by my first editor, Leona Nevler
16) Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon – Amazon purchase, made along with a pre-order of Good Things by our own Mia King
These are all important books to me, as much for their content as for the ways in which I received them. I am comforted by my TBR pile. It tells me that this is my home, this is my room, this is my side of the bed, and I am always welcome. I will always be comfortable there, so long as I have a book to read and a memory to go along with it.