As September comes closer, a big part of the reading-me shudders in panic. With the new catalogues and the tempting pitches, the prizelists and the festivals: how to fit in all-the-books. When one’s reading plans back in January are still all needy and stuff.
Oh, and some of those are doozies. George Perec’s A Void. Julio Cortazar’s Hopscotch. And there are some other hard reads I’ve saved for the latter part of this year too. Because it’s more fitting to cry over animal stories, like The Yearling and Bob, Son of Battle, in December.
Even without weeping, there were some others that I was determined to finish. Books I’d gotten stuck in before. Some mystical “before” time. Was it five years ago, or twenty? It doesn’t really matter: stuck, either way.
Which isn’t to say that all my reading projects for this year were challenging works in translation or door-stoppers. I also gathered a stack of my grandmother’s Jalna books, some Louise Erdrich books and David Mitchell novels.
Also, as September closes in, another part of me is shuddering with excitement, prepared to cast aside all of January’s plans, ready for new reading projects and a new school year.
When I add up the Jalna stories which remain, along with all the other elements in these reading plans, the math says to me that I’d best keep my nose in a book. Don’t look up. Don’t fall for some new printed thing.
There are not enough reading days remaining in this year to complete the projects that I began in January. They will need to spill into the next year. Which is what brings on that excitement, the thought of the reading year to come, all that it might hold.
Also, the hold list for Sherman Alexie’s You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me was too long. And I wanted to have my own copy of Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves. Because, reasons. And you can’t rush Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s stories with a duedate.
So, these are recent acquisitions which aren’t in my notebook. They are still in the middle of the table, freshly gathered from a trip to a local indie shop.
Putting it in ink is imperfect. My reading ideas can’t be captured in such practical terms. As soon as I make a list, it declares itself to be “in revision”.