In my last post, I shared my goal of reading 30 books this year. Well, I’m sad to report that I’ve haven’t finished a book yet. Like many of you, I tend to start several books at once, and then finish whatever sticks. Here’s what I’m reading right now, perhaps you can help me decide what to finish first!
Death in Venice by Thomas Mann. I saw this on someone’s gotta read list and decided that I must read it. It has all of the stuff I like in a book: obsession, same-gender desire, Paris. What more could one want? Well, after six and half years of grad school, I’m kind of over the paragraph-long sentences right now, so I think this may be why I haven’t been able to get past page five. Reading this feels like work.
The Book of Salt by Monique Truong. I LOVE this book so far. Although interestingly enough, I missed the fact that the narrator was a man until I was a few pages in. I had to go back and re-read a page or two. I suspect that skimming literary criticism has ruined me; I need to slow down when I’m reading these novels! I don’t want to miss a word of this one. Not sure why I haven’t read more of it yet.
Tampa by Alissa Nutting. Okay, I just wanted to see what all the hype was about. I did read her collection of short stories, Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls, and I loved it. Tampa, however, is giving me the heebie jeebies. How so? I took it home with me when I visited my parents and I didn’t want to read the book in their company. That pink cover with the vulva/button hole makes me blush every time I look at it, and I know that it’s buttonhole, not really a vulva. I can only imagine what my dad would have thought had I whipped this out during family reading time. Also, the subject matter (a woman obsessed with teenage boys), kind of messes with my feminist sensibilities. Still, Nutting’s writing style is acerbic and entertaining, so maybe I’ll give it a few more pages.
A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin. I’m kinda into short story collections these days (go figure), and I’d read that Berlin is good. The editor also did a good job of giving us a bit of Berlin’s back story, and I’m drawn to her struggles as a writer and working single mom. I’ve just really started the collection though, and based on the introduction and forward, this collection is to die for. I hope I’m not disappointed.
So, what say you? What shall I finish first, or should I chuck them all and start something else? I’ve added a few extra books to my list, in case I just can’t with a few of these titles.
How are you doing with your list?