- The second copy of Updike's "Roger's Version" I have owned. I don't know where or when it vanished but I discovered it & a few others missing when the author died in January. I found this used copy at Powell's in Portland in March, and needed to buy it, whether it would be read or not.
- "American Nerd," Benjamin Nugent. Bought on the same day as Roger's Version, but at the Hawthorne Powell's, not the Pearl one. Look, you can't go to PDX without hitting Powell's, and you can't hit Powell's without buying a stack of goodies.
- "Home Cheesemaking, by Ricki Carroll." A gift from Don at Christmas. No time to read means no time to make cheese, either. Someday...
- "The Botany of Desire" by Michael Pollan, also from Powell's Hawthorne & which I must take on faith is as good as his other work; "U and I" by Nicholson Baker, unshelved in January when Updike died and actually all read but for the last 6 pages: there's no excuse for it to be in this damnable pile.
- "Voluntary Madness," by Norah Vincent. Or actually just its dust jacket; I did finish the book last year. I was... greatly conflicted, about it.
- "Population: 485" by Michael Perry, which I've actually read before, and at some point I thought of it as being a light-yet-friendly enough read that I could get through it in spite of no-time: well, it is, but no, I couldn't.
- "Tomcat in Love" by Tim O'Brien. I quit trying to plow through this about 2/3 of the way through. I hate this book almost as much as its author hates its characters.
- "This Common Ground: Seasons on an Organic Farm" by Scott Chaskey. Pulled from the dollar bin at a Borders last fall; the logic was if I'm not going to read it let it at least be cheap. But it turns out there was a reason it was remaindered. It's pompous and tedious and absolutely fucking dreadful.
- I know: you're horrified. If I had any rare or collectible books I wouldn't treat them this way. I don't though. Closest thing is a bound galley of Donna Tartt's "The Secret History" I found in a 50-cent bin at a thrift store ten years ago, but it was already beat to hell when I found it.
- "The Hour I First Believed," Wally Lamb. Heard the author interviewed on NPR last fall; it sounded like a good meaty novel to keep me busy on a flight to the West Coast in March. It did, but I had work to do on the flight home, and so a little under half of this book remains unread.
- Jose Saramago's "Death with Interruptions." I loved, loved, loved "Blindness" (still haven't seen the movie though) and "Death with Interruptions" got good reviews. I assume they were accurate, but have no way of being sure.
- "Indignation," Philip Roth. I never miss buying a new Roth but I was ready to skip this one when it came out in September, only for reasons of time. Made the mistake of saying so at the bookstore to Don; he insisted on buying it for me. He's sweet.. but I haven't so much as opened the book
- "Mapping Fate," Alice Wexler. Her family both suffers from and isolated the gene that causes Huntington's Disease. Now they, and others with it in their family histories, have to choose whether to be tested. Would you want to know if you were going to get the disease? I myself have no idea.
- "And The Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks," William S Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. A Christmas gift from my brother-in-law. Thanks Dan. Someday I'll read it. Around the time I remember to give back the Paul Auster you lent me, probably.
- Does it make me less cool to admit that I sort of hated the first little chunk of Neal Pollack's "Never Mind the Pollacks?" I was very excited to find it in the same dollar bin as that gardening book up there, but like the gardening book, it'll probably go unread on a permanent basis.
- "The Diviners" by Rick Moody. In September, I needed something to read on the Amtrak Northeast Corridor train while heading to NYC to buy scalped tickets to a Low concert. "The Diviners" had been marked down like 3 times, to about 49 cents. This is about the most I would pay for a Rick Moody book.
- Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death." Haven't even cracked it.
- Barbara Ehrenreich, "This Land Is Their Land." The oldest book in the pile, I bought this at Bergli Bookshop in Basel, Switzerland last July. Before my time crunch---but I bought a *ton* of books in Switzerland and never finished some of them.
- "American Wife" by Curtis Sittenfeld. I bought this (and "Mapping Fate" and "Voluntary Madness" and "Hour I First Believed" and "Death with Interruptions") with an Amazon gift certificate I got from a client for Christmas. May wait until the Bush era is a little more historical to read it.
I spent most of my life thinking I would spend my entire life tearing through several books a week.
Then last fall happened. I got busy, and I've stayed busy, and I've turned into that saddest of souls: a person with no time to read. I felt the loss as soon as it happened, and in my mind, at least, I quit buying books, knowing that any I brought home would go unread.
So how then has this stack grown atop my dresser? Maybe they came from the same place that disappeared socks go? No, wait, in my house, disappeared socks go into my cat's fetish stash, so that can't be right...