Books acquired: “Fire and Rain,” David Browne; “Kafka Americana,” Jonathan Lethem and Carter Scholz; “The Long Lavender Look,” “The Empty Copper Sea,” John D. MacDonald.
Books read: “I, Robot,” Isaac Asimov; “Like I Was Sayin’,” Mike Royko; “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It,” Ogden Nash; “Soon I Will Be Invincible,” Austin Grossman; “I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon,” Philip K. Dick; “I’ll Mature When I’m Dead,” Dave Barry; “I, Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay,” Harlan Ellison; “As I Lay Dying,” William Faulkner; “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” Harlan Ellison; “Take My Picture Gary Leonard,” Gary Leonard; “Party of One: A Loner’s Manifesto,” Anneli Rufus.
Welcome to my first Reading Log of 2012, the feature where I chart my reading month-by-month, and you chime in with comments about your own reading life.
You may recall that over the past three decades or so I’ve accumulated a shameful number of unread books, close to 550. Yikes! (That includes some childhood favorites that I’ve read but intend to reread, and some omnibus books and anthologies, like the complete Shakespeare, that I’m counting as multiple books. But still.)
Between purchases and gifts, that number hasn’t budged much despite three years of reading 50 to 60 books per year. But at least my backlog is slowly getting fresher.
This year I’m planning to focus on short books (200 pages or less) in an attempt to sweep away some of the easier ones on my shelves. If I can read, I dunno, 75 this year, including a lot of SF, a few literary classics and the final three Sherlock Holmes books, that would be satisfying. But you never know what a year will bring, and thus, I reserve the right to switch gears and delve into gloomy Russian epics.
I’m off to a good start, polishing off 11 (!) in January. That’s too many to talk about, and even for the photo I had to stand on a footstool. But there weren’t so many that I had to lay them out in a field and charter a plane for an aerial shot.
Just for fun, the first nine use the personal pronoun in the title, sometimes twice. I started some of them last fall, arranging to finish them in January for a month of “I” books. Oh, we must get our jollies somehow. With a week left in the month and no more “I” books to read, I found two with similarly narcissistic titles to round out the month.
Favorites of the 11 would be Nash’s light verse, Dick’s short stories and Rufus’ defense of 24-hour wallflower people. Biggest disappointment was Barry’s latest. I think Will Plunkett was similarly disappointed by it in a comment here last year.
As for the books’ provenance, “I Have No Mouth” was bought in about 1981, with Nash’s and Royko’s acquired in the mid-1980s. Nice to have three oldies out of the way. The rest were purchased in the past decade; notably, Rufus’ was purchased at the excellent Green Apple Books in San Francisco and Faulkner’s at the Faulkner House museum and gift shop in New Orleans.
February will bring a much shorter list of books. i’ll be starting from scratch today with a new, as-yet-unchosen book.
Now, what are you reading, and do you have any personal reading goals for the year?