The reading list is getting longer and stranger. By “the” I mean “my.” How about a list? Everyone likes lists:
The Idiot, Fyodor
Known and Strange Things, Teju Cole
South of the Border, West of the Sun, Murakami
The Complete Fairy Tales, Grimm
The Great Enigma, Tomas Tranströmer
The Captive Mind, Miłosz
Guermantes Way (for years now), Marcel
Why This World: A Bio of Clarice, Benjamin Moser
Água Viva (on occasion), Clarice
The Paris Review, especially, lately, Duncan Hannah’s journals and Katharine Kilalea’s novel in serial and their interviews always grab me
Bookforum from three months ago
Invisible Man, Ellison, not that bore Wells; and the audiobook, not the pagiobook
I always read a few things at once. Not at once in any given moment–that would just be ridiculous. But at once as in I like having several books and magazines from which to pick each day/night. How unremarkable is this? Completely.
But now, in this current list, I don’t even know what the keystone or capstone or cornerstone or linchpin or mainstay or whatever is. Usually, there’s one book that really ties the room together—the one whose tone and style and subject are just too pertinent to my immediate musings and/or life situation to stay away from. I thought it would be The Idiot because it’s FD and there’s all that humanity in there. But some nights the unbeautiful prose and mental clutter is just too much for my eyes to stomach.
Some days/nights I don’t even know where to begin. But not from indecision in the face of so many options. There is always so many options. This is more about struggling to locate that bit of daily compulsion that typically makes me reach for one bit of language over all the others. I just don’t know what I want, so I keep adding stuff, hoping I’ll strike the right chord or the hot iron or the sweet spot and fall into some marvelous abyss of the soul and imagination, enthralled and enthrilled and enspired and full full full of fabricated words.