Two months into the new year, and I’ve hardly made a dent in my 2009 reading lists. My second encounter with Ishiguro was not all that exciting; the Ondaatje is proving to be similarly bland. I think I can appreciate the ingenuity and experimentative quality of The Waves, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to read it. Tender is the Night is proving to be a beautiful book, and yet I keep comparing it to Gatsby.
In March, I’ve decided I will be reading more nonfiction. Geraldine Brooks’ Nine Parts of Desire, Antonia Fraser’s The Weaker Vessel and a biography of Leonardo da Vinci by Charles Nicholls. I read this earlier, in 2008, but I only skimmed through it during exams. This time, I’m going to purchase my own copy and take my time with it. If I can find a copy, I’ll also try to read Isak Dineson’s Out of Africa.
As for literature, I’ll be reading Grapes of Wrath, North and South and The Picture of Dorian Grey. They’re all currently sitting on my shelf, so no excuse for excessive book-buying this month. I’ll also be taking part in Matt’s Gone with the Wind read-a-long, and re-reading Northanger Abbey, maybe in conjunction with The Mysteries of Udolpho. That’s five novels, potentially six, but I’ve also got to leave room to finish off Tender is the Night and Orwell’s Essays and The Age of Innocence. This month has been so awkward because I’ve got about four books halfway complete, and I haven’t actually finished many books at all.
The strange this is that at the end of each month, the unread books from my reading lists sort of slip into oblivion, and are never heard of again (ahem, Anna Karenina). I’ve been thinking about whether I really need to be so organised with my reading. I mean, I’ve already got projects happening, so why monthly reading lists? The main thing is that it stops me from buying too many books. For the last two months, my lists have been compiled from books already on my shelf, or that I know for sure are available at the library. In the end, though, they’re just loose guidelines for what I’d like to read in the month ahead. It doesn’t matter what I read, and what I don’t read.
I just really like compiling lists.
Hopefully, March will be a more promising thirty-one days than February, and hopefully I’ll be able to get my hands on Metamorphoses before the month is out.