A friend recently e-mailed me about a shake-up of her reading shelf. Her explanation for the change hit home, describing so well what can happen with a book that loses its glamour. She wrote: “I’ve been wading through my to-be-read shelves, moving out books that were a good idea at the time and starting [and then]discarding books that just aren’t worth the effort.”
And so, a reality check for My Reading Table, which I’ve been ignoring. Some of the books once were a good idea (Pete Dexter’s Paris Trout) and some aren’t worth the effort right now (Katherine Mansfield Notebooks: Complete Edition edited by Margaret Scott). They’ll likely get a spot on the table at another time, when the hunger for them returns. Meanwhile, my reading table now holds a smaller, more realistic stack of new and old books and will see action.
Below are the books moved off the reading table. They are now considered the “hopefuls,” among other unread books in my library.
- Along with Paris Trout, others once a good idea include Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar, The Rains Came: A Novel of Modern India by Louis Bromfield and Dracula by Bram Stoker, which hit the table during Halloween last year.
- Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Living by Declan Kiberd, One Matchless Time: A Life of William Faulkner by Jay Parini, Loneliness as a Way of Life by Thomas Dunn and Prague in Danger: The Years of German Occupation, 1939-45 by Peter Demetz aren’t worth the effort right now.
- Parallel Play: Growing Up With Undiagnosed Asperger’s by Tim Page got returned unread to the lender, who wanted to lend it to someone else. I ran out of time.
- Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro, Generosity by Richard Powers, The Glass Room by Simon Mawer, and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters are new books published in 2009 that I simply have to leave behind because there are — to paraphrase a popular saying, so many new books to consider in a year, so little time. They are all highly recommended. Ones to check out if you’re searching for a good book.
- About Grace by Anthony Doer and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger are novels that need beach or patio time (i.e., undisturbed, long, warm sunny afternoons).
- For all the others, including Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited by Vladimir Nabokov and 1940 by Jay Neugeboren, it’s just not a time.
Click on the photo above to get the list of books on My Reading Table, or go here.