This is my bedside table. It represents the best of my intentions and the worst of my faults as a reader. At any given time, I am in the middle of five or six books. Most of them I'll finish. Some of them, I won't. But I'll never get to the bottom of this stack because it renews itself at a rate of five or more books per month. I'm slightly compulsive when it comes to buying books, and my husband is just the same. We know that if we stopped buying books we would have enough to read for years to come. We know that our storage capacity is strained. But we can't stop. We aren't hoarders, though, just readers!
Here is what's going on in my reading life at the moment...
I'm halfway through Judy Blume's IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT. It's keeping me awake at night. Judy Blume is one of my lifelong favorite writers. I got to meet her once and burst into tears. She said it happens more often than one would think. She now lives in my hometown and when I am back there I always wish to bump into her in the Winn Dixie or something, but it never happens. Sigh.
I'm three quarters of the way into Hanya Yanagihara's haunting and terrifying A LITTLE LIFE. Ordinarily I don't read books about abuse, because my imagination is so vivid it supplies too much detail. (Reading for me is at times like watching things happen in real life.) But Hanya and I were editorial assistants together years ago and I loved working with her, so I was curious. Her book deserves the amazing reviews it has received--it's such an immersive experience and I'll never get Jude St. Francis out of my mind. (He is at least as memorable and as tragic as literature's other doomed Jude.) But I need a little break before finishing this one. I doubt I've ever cried this much while reading a book before (and as a sensitive and emotional reader, that's saying a lot).
huge Mantel fan, but her story "Winter Break" upset me so much that even the sight of the book's black cover, which so thrilled me when I was given it as a gift, now just seems macabre. I want to say I will get back to it. One of the things that might make me finish it is the contempt Hilary Mantel would no doubt feel for such a wussy reader as myself. She clearly lives closely with the characters and scenarios she creates, which is incredibly brave, and I ought to find the courage to keep going and not miss out on what she will say next.
A few months ago I read Lynne Truss' CAT OUT OF HELL. If you love (or hate) cats and have a weakness for a gothic novel, run--don't walk--to buy this. I laughed and laughed and can't bring myself to shelve this one just yet. Maybe I'm waiting for just the right friend to lend it to.
Those magazines are assorted back-dated New Yorkers, which I am always months behind in reading. There was one time in my life--pre-kids, working for Penguin--when I felt that if I didn't read the New Yorker cover to cover, the day it arrived, I'd be socially irrelevant for the rest of the week. I miss those days! These days I am only reliably up to date on Tatler--sad but true--how much I love it!