To Be Read
For the first time in a long time I’ve gathered together all the books that I currently am planning to read, and sorted them into the order in which I intend to read them. I did this because the list was growing and I knew that I’d start to forget about books I’ve bought / been given and not yet read, due to them being out of sight somewhere beneath / behind other books.
So. My plan is to take them off the right hand end, and keep adding to the left hand end. I’m actually currently reading Infinite Jest already, but as it’s quite big and it’ll take me a while yet, I’ve included it.
I think because IJ is quite big, I’ve arranged for a few relatively short books to follow. These are mostly books I’ve had for a long time, and I’ve been looking forward to them for ages. I’ve had the comic-book Joseph, by Nicolas Robel, for years, but because it’s so small I had actually lost it between two other books.
There are ten novels, two non-fiction books, three anthologies, two short story collections, and the aforementioned comic.
1. Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace
2. Everything’s Fine – Socrates Adams
3. The Best British Short Stories 2011 – Edited by Nicholas Royle
4. Vault – David Rose (not the David Rose that may somehow be connected to Johann Hari, but another one)
5. Joseph – Nicolas Robel
6. Richard Yates – Tao Lin
7. Screwtop Thompson – Magnus Mills
8. A Matter of Blood – Sarah Pinborough
9. The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mohsin Hamid
10. A Book of Horrors – Edited by Stephen Jones
11. Gutshot – Edited by Conrad Williams
12. King Rat – China Mieville
13. Salem’s Lot – Stephen King
14. Department 19 – Will Hill
15. Bleeding, Blisters and Opium: Joshua Dixon and the Whitehaven Dispensary – Michael Sydney
16. Nightmare Movies – Kim Newman
17. The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde
18. The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury
One other reason I wanted to put all of these books together in one place was so that I could kind of lust over them, in an anticipatory kind of way, a kind of feel-a-warm-glow-of-excitement every time I walk past the shelf kind of thing. And I do, almost. Except what occurs to me mostly when I look at these books is that only one is by a woman. A Matter of Blood, by Sarah Pinborough. And although I will be slipping The War Tour by Zoe Lambert surreptitiously in towards the right-hand end when I finally get a copy, that’s still only two. Yes, there are female writers in the three anthologies but the anthologies are all edited by men, and anyway, that doesn’t restore balance.
It’ll be a while before I buy any more books I think, but when I do get to that point I’ll be bearing this in mind. Not because I feel guilty about it, but because I want to read widely. I want to read a variety of things by a variety of different authors and types of author.
What do your to-be-read piles / shelves look like? What do you notice, looking at them, that maybe you wouldn’t have noticed if you hadn’t arranged them as such? Do you arrange them at all? Maybe you are sensible, and don’t.