For many years now I have loosely targeted my annual reading to score about one-hundred books, some long and some short. It always intrigues me when I look back over my reading from the years I worked many hours and compare it to my reading now that I am retired. It’s about the same. How did I go to work, at times with a very long commute, and only pause to read a few minutes each day over a hasty lunch at my desk, and actually read as much if not more than I am reading today?
Is it my aging eyes? The advent of digital readers? A diminishing attention span? Not enough vegetables in my diet?
Here in my new apartment in my daughter’s house I have a very comfortable existence. My new desk is ideal; my new reading lamp is much better than my old lamp; my bookshelves are filled with inspirations; and my digital readers are bulging electronically with choice reading material, both contemporary and classic. On any day I have a novel sitting in front of me on my trusty iPad (I might be catching up on the technology next year, though) and a lively collection of digital reading on my iPhone 6+, not to mention the ink and paper books I keep at the ready outside on the porch for reading while absorbing the sunshine or on the taboret in the bathroom for reading when contemplating the essence of reality.
As September dawns I find my reading has nearly jumped over the threshold and now I can pause to perhaps contemplate a few texts that might strain my little gray cells and demand an extended concentration. The new monthly pool is perhaps more of a transition month. Who knows? Next month may only have two or three titles: big honking titles currently languishing on my Literary Bucket List or under a mouldering list of big fat forgotten books.
But for now, here is the list of titles I have contemplated reading in September:
1. How German Is It — Walter Abish
2. Wonderland — Ace Atkins
3. The Penelopiad — Margaret Atwood
4. High Rise — J. G. Ballard
5. The System of Dante’s Hell — Amir Baraka
6. Yiddish For Pirates — Gary Barwin
7. The Western Lands — William S. Burroughs
8. Van Gogh’s Room at Arles — Stanley Elkin
9. Lady L — Romain Gary
10. Zero History — William Gibson
11. The Boy Who Made the Dragonfly — Tony Hillerman
12. Swimmer in the Secret Sea — William Kotzwinkle
13. 21 Days of a Neurasthenic — Octave Mirbeau
14. Untitled — Kgebetli Moele
15. Wonderland — Joyce Carol Oates
16. Indemnity Only — Sara Paretsky
17. The Anatomy of Fascism — Robert O. Paxton
18. The Hole — Hye-young Pyun
19. When She Was Good — Philip Roth
20. A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy — Laurence Sterne
Remember, don’t be surprised if I suddenly shift and insist on finishing Infinite Jest or delving into Anatomy of Melancholy or maybe even reread Finnegans Wake for the fun of it.