I have some lists for today; the first one is of the books you all recommended when I asked for books that … I’m not sure what, exactly, except I asked for the kind of books I would like. Let’s call them books about books or about people who love books and books that are very often experimental and self-reflexively about reading and writing and that have a lot of passion too, or are just plain quirky and fun or quirky and serious, or simply books that are likely to make me happy.
On my original list was:
Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot
Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire
Mary McCarthy, Memories of a Catholic Girlhood
Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Nicholsen Baker, U and I
And I left off one of my favorite books ever, which I can’t believe I forgot:
Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy
So here were your recommendations:
A.S. Byatt, Possession and The Biographer’s Tale
Jaspar Fforde, the Thursday Next books
Thomas Wharton, The Logogryph
Muriel Spark, The Comforters
Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths
Anne Fadiman, Ex Libris
Primo Levi, The Periodic Table
Italo Calvino, If on a winter’s night a traveler
Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff
Kate Christensen. The Epicure’s Lament
Ursula Hegi, Intrusions
Peter Rushforth, Pinkerton’s Sister
David Lodge, Small World and Changing Places
Not a bad list, is it? If you have more suggestions, please let me know; I’d love to add to the list.
And then, one more list. I recently got some money as a gift and, no surprise, spent it on books. Here’s what I got. That the list below and the list above don’t overlap at all doesn’t mean I wasn’t happy with your recommendations; it often takes me ten years or so to get around things on my to-be-read list, but they are there, ready for the right time.
Curtis Sittenfeld, Prep — enough people recommended this one, including a favorite professor of mine, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.
Jose Saramago, Blindness — everyone seems to love him, so it’s definitely time I give him a try.
Orhan Pamuk, Snow — same as above
Elaine Scarry, On Beauty and Being Just — I’ve read an essay or two of hers and loved them, and this book looks very interesting. I’d also like to look at her book The Body in Pain.
Brian Greene, The Fabric of the Cosmos — time for some more science.
Frances Burney, Journals and Letters — time to find out more about Burney’s life. This one is in the mail right now.
I’ll be busy, won’t I?