Dreaming about books

You will be relieved to know, I’m sure, that I took your advice seriously about not feeling guilty when I acquire books, and I will be acquiring a bunch more of them soon. I’ll tell you about that later. As I don’t have a whole lot of time to read right now, the next best thing is to think about what I will read soon, when I get the chance. So here’s what’s looking most interesting right now:

  • Richard Powers, The Echo Maker. I’ve heard lots of good things about Powers over the last couple years, and have heard about him recently from a friend, and I’m intrigued. He writes about science a lot, and I think I’d like that.
  • Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy/Tacy books. I just received a lovely edition of Heaven to Betsy and Betsy in Spite of Herself in one volume from Kate, and the book is too lovely to let sit on my shelves for too long. I loved these books as a kid, and I want to see how I like them now.
  • Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge. I really loved Abide with Me when I listened to it recently, and so now I want to get to this one. Plus, a friend recently gave me a signed copy of the book, and that feels like a reason to read the book right there.
  • Wilkie Collins’s Armadale. With all the Collins posts appearing around the book blog world, he has been on my mind a lot. This is the book of his I have waiting on my shelves.
  • Nicholson Baker’s The Anthologist. I’ve said I want this book enough times in enough places, that if it doesn’t appear under the Christmas tree, well, I’ll rush out and buy myself a copy the day after. Baker is one of my favorite writers, and this book is about a guy trying to write an introduction to a poetry anthology, so of course I will like it.
  • Lydia Davis, Varieties of Disturbance. I’ve been hearing about Davis for a while and am intrigued. This is a book of short stories, a genre I haven’t read in a while and would like to get back to. Two very good reasons to read this book. I’m curious about the extreme shortness of many of these stories, and also about their poetic quality. I guess since I don’t read many short stories and have been known to complain about overly-poetic prose, this book feels like a challenge, and I wonder if I will like it in spite of my biases.
  • Anything by Lorrie Moore and Margaret Atwood, two writers I have never read, and really should.
  • Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room. I’m slowly reading through Woolf’s major works in chronological order (at the rate of a book or two a year), and here is where I’m at, into the more experimental work.
  • Louise Gluck’s Proofs and Theories. I love Gluck’s poetry, and this is a book of essays. I hope I like them as much.
  • Rosalind Belben’s Our Horses in Egypt. I look for this one in every bookstore I go to and haven’t found it yet. From what I remember hearing about it, it’s a good novel that does really interesting things with the writing. It seems to fit into the category “experimental, but not too much so” that I like a lot.
  • John Keats’s letters. I’ve heard these are great, and I need to find out for myself.

I haven’t had much time to read, but I did finish Brideshead Revisited recently, and I hope to write up my thoughts soon.


Filed under Books, Lists

19 responses to “Dreaming about books

  1. What a great list! I’d like to read Richard Powers – I keep intending to and then not getting around to it, and Wilkie Collins’ Armadale is similarly afflicted. I’m sure you’ll love Olive Kitteridge – it is very beautifully written. And I’ll be most interested to hear how you get on with the Gluck as I love her poetry, too.


  2. Wonderful list! I’ve wanted to read Richard Powers for some time too but haven’t gotten around to him yet. I loved the Betsy/Tacy books when I was a kid but I ripped through them so fast I have no recollection other than I know I read them. Have fun reading and have fun searching for the books you don’t have. I am glad you have gotten over your guilt 🙂


  3. I’ve also been looking everywhere for Rosalind Belben, with no luck. I have been advised that some of her earlier books are even greater than this one, so I really want to find them!

    Lorrie Moore: really, start with Self-Help. If you’d rather read a novel-like thing, Anagrams is almost one, but more important, it’s very good. Birds of America is good, too, plus it has the (in)famous story “People Like That are the Only People Here”.

    Lydia Davis: I think if you think of them less as stories and more as prose poems you’ll have better luck. I haven’t read this collection, but her earlier work is often excellent. If you want a more sustained work from her, there is always her novel The End of the Story.

    Richard Powers: used to be my favorite writer. He’s not anymore (my tastes and interests have shifted rather dramatically). My favorite is Galatea 2.2, though The Echo Maker is not a bad place to start.


  4. I think you’re the perfect reader for the Belben book. For me it was a challenging read, but I’m glad I read it and have another of her books on my shelves (I had to interlibrary loan it, and ordered the other one from the Book Depository). And I hope you like Armadale. It’s my favorite. I’ve been thinking of rereading something by him (and adding it to my already too large vacation reads pile). Thinking about what you’re going to read is almost as good as reading itself (almost)–there’s something about the anticipation of picking up a good book!


  5. Such a great list there. And, I don’t know why but I’m so surprised you’ve never read any Atwood. I do hope you’ll like her. Very interesting books.

    I have the Olive Kitteridge book too and want to dive into it although lately I’ve had so much going on that I feel like I can just handle cozy mysteries. My sort of comfort food.

    Anyway, have fun choosing which book next!


  6. What an intriguing list! I’ve never heard of Rosalind Belben, but I love subtly experimental prose. I’ll have to check her out.

    By far my favorite Atwood I’ve read (her stuff is very hit-and-miss for me) was The Blind Assassin. I found it gripping and dramatic, without being preachy or overwrought.


  7. Ann

    Olive Kitteridge was one of my great reads of the year. I’m just about to start ‘Abide with Me’.


  8. I finally read something by Margaret Atwood a few weeks ago (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) and definitely intend to read more by her. I recommend you get around to it to – I was surprised by how awesome it was. And now I’m interested to read something by Richard Powers as well. Key word: science.


  9. Really cool list. I know Richard told you to start with ‘Self Help’ when reading Lorrie Moore, but can I also put in a big recommendation for ‘Who Will Run the Frog Hospital’? Complicated female relationships and messed up love affairs, plus looking back at adolescence with humour.


  10. Jodie, I thought about Frog Hospital as I was writing my first comment…. I didn’t mention it because I don’t think it’s quite as good as the other stuff. BUT. I have great affection for it. There is a moment, a marvelous, subtle moment, in which the narrator learns something about her father from an offhand remark made by her grandmother… this moment has stayed with me for years.


  11. Litlove — I’m glad you recommend Olive K. so highly — I’m not surprised at all that the writing is so good. And I hope we both enjoy Powers and Armadale when we get there!

    Stefanie — there are a bunch of us who want to read Powers, it seems. I’m curious how much of the Betsy/Tacy books will come back to me. I really loved them as a kid, but haven’t read them in decades.

    Richard — well, it’s time to order the Belben online perhaps. I prefer to buy my books in stores, but at times Amazon or other online sellers are so useful. Thanks for all the advice about the other authors — it’s very useful.

    Danielle — I hope you’re right about Belben. She certainly is most intriguing. And you are getting me very interested in starting Armadale! And yes, planning one’s reading is one of the best things about being a bookish person.

    Iliana — it’s silly not to have read Atwood; she’s probably one of the most famous contemporary writers I’ve missed so far. But I have something good to look forward to!

    Emily — Belben was a blog find — one of many authors I’ve heard about online that I wouldn’t have heard about otherwise. I hope you are able to find her.

    Ann — I hope you enjoy it! I’d love to read your review, if you decide to write one.

    Biblibio — I’ll probably start with The Handmaid’s Tale, or possible Alias Grace, which is the Atwood book I have on my shelves. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed reading her.

    Jodie — thank you for the recommendation! Your description makes it sound very appealing.


  12. I like that you made a list of the books you will read once you have time. I should try that!

    Just got a copy of the Moonstone from Book Mooch, and am looking forward to Collins.


  13. Jenny

    These lists you make never, ever fail to add six or seven books to my own TBR list. Thank you!


  14. After John Keats’ letters, go for Bright Star, the movie… I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. And, I love to see others acquire more books to be added to their TBR list. Now I can go out and do the same!


  15. Nothing I’ve read, except Atwood. That means more books to be added to the TBR tome as you read them. Sigh! (But not a very deep or serious sigh.)


  16. Armadale is my favourite Collins novel. I think you will love it (hope you will!)

    And I just finished The Anthologist and absolutely enjoyed every minute. I wasn’t expecting anything in particular because I hadn’t heard a lot about it but I loved it. Hope it appears under your tree!

    As for Atwood, my own favourite of her books is Alias Grace. I recall reading Surfacing and The Edible Woman in university and they were ok but I really do like Alias Grace best.


  17. Debby — I’m so glad you have The Moonstone! I hope you enjoy it. I make lists like this one occasionally for the blog, although the truth is, I often don’t follow it. My moods change, and the next thing I know, I’ve picked out something else entirely …

    Jenny — very glad to help out! 🙂

    Arti — I definitely want to see Bright Star. I’m looking forward to it. Yes, go out and get some books and have fun!

    Emily B. — again, I’m always glad to help 🙂

    Melanie — I’m so glad you liked The Anthologist. I’m really looking forward to it! I’m also glad to hear you liked Alias Grace.


  18. Pingback: Brideshead Revisited revisited and other notes « Of Books and Bicycles

  19. DKS

    You’ve probably already seen this, but there’s a selection of Keats’ letters online here: http://englishhistory.net/keats/letters.html


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