Today I think I will do Kate’s delightful Calvino meme, taken from If on a winter’s night a traveler.
The Books You’ve Been Planning To Read For Ages: I have lots of these; in fact, some of them are on my list of 13 classics I want to read in 2007. They include Don Quixote, Boswell’s Life of Johnson and William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience. I’ve also wanted to read the complete Montaigne (I’ve read bits and pieces from it) for ages, and The Bhagavad Gita.
The Books You’ve Been Hunting For Years Without Success: I don’t have a specific book to name here, but I have been looking for an essay anthology that’s as good as Phillip Lopate’s The Art of the Personal Essay and a book on religion and spirituality from a personal perspective that’s as good as Diana Eck’s Encountering God.
The Books Dealing with Something You’re Working on at the Moment: Joe Friel’s The Cyclist’s Training Bible and Bartholomae and Petrosky’s Ways of Reading, which I’m going to use in a class this spring.
The Books You Want To Own So They’ll Be Handy Just In Case: Anthologies. Any kind of anthologies — of essays, of 18C poetry, of Victorian prose, of contemporary short stories, whatever. I never know when I might want to consult one of these.
The Books You Could Put Aside Maybe To Read This Summer: Long books — really long books. I don’t like reading really long books when I’m busy as they seem to drag on forever even if they are good and I’m enjoying them. So the summer is the time for books like Don Quixote and Nicholas Basbanes A Gentle Madness, which I’ve got on my TBR shelves.
The Books You Need To Go With Other Books On Your Shelves: The last two volumes of Proust. I have up through volume 4, but I still need The Captive and The Fugitive, which are in one volume, and Time Regained. Unfortunately, these aren’t available in America in the particuar translation I’ve been reading, the new Penguin one. So I’ll have to switch to another translation — which I won’t do — or order them from England. Disappointingly, the covers of these last two volumes will be different. They would have looked so nice on my shelves, all 6 volumes with matching spines. Sigh.
The Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified: Biographies of obscure people from earlier centuries that on one level I know would bore me from page 75 or so onward, but that I find intriguing in the moment anyway.
The Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered: I would find a reading guide such as Clifton Fadiman’s Lifetime Reading Plan and read through his choices — a task that would take forever and would become boring fairly soon but that still sounds appealing to me — if I had more than one life.
Books Read Long Ago That It’s Now Time To Reread: I don’t know if I’ll actually re-read these, but there are some I read in High School or earlier that I’m quite sure I didn’t do justice to, including George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, and Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
Anyone else want to play?