Saturday, September 16, 2006

Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't I?

Well, by everyone I mean Martin and Alison. At any rate, it's been rather quiet here recently, for which I apologize--September is turning out to be a cultural wasteland. There's some nice stuff lined up for October, though--Neil Gaiman is this year's guest of honor and ICon and Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain is the Haifa Film Festival's opening film--but for now you'll have to do with my top ten unread books, listed in descending order of the amount of time I've put off reading them:
  1. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov - has been sitting on my bedside table for several years now. No idea what the block is about, as it is supposedly crazy good.

  2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy - see above, although I've found myself strangely reluctant to read classic tragic romances these last few years. I think there might have been a very brief period in which I was old enough to appreciate the complexity of the writing but not too old to be exasperated by authors who clearly believe that a moral point can't be made unless someone ODs on laudanum or throws themselves in front of a train. I think the Karenina window may have already closed.

  3. Satan Burger by Carlton Mellick III - a friend gave me this book a few years ago (as well as City of Saints and Madmen and The Tooth Fairy) when a post office mix-up landed him with two Amazon packages containing the same books. I read and loved the other two, but have put off the Mellick. The front cover picture creeps me out.

  4. The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem - I read 70 pages of this more than a year ago and got bored. Given that Girl in Landscape and Motherless Brooklyn are two books that I've loved, I imagine I'll end up going back to this one.

  5. Climbers by M. John Harrison - one of the books I brought back with me from England a few months ago, and one of only three I haven't read yet.

  6. Silverlock by John Myers Myers - another book I brought back from England and haven't read yet.

  7. The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter - the third English book. I'm putting this one off because, at this point, Carter scares me.

  8. The Accidental by Ali Smith - I actually tried to read this one twice, only to be so thoroughly put off by the child narrator's voice that I threw the book aside after ten pages each time. Niall Harrison has been calling it the greatest thing since sliced bread so I may end up giving it another try.

  9. The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea - I... honestly don't know why I bought this book. Or when.

  10. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth - This one is actually partially read--about 250 pages out of 10,000. I enjoyed it while reading it, but didn't feel a desperate need to go back to it once I'd put it aside. After more than a week of this, I started to miss the experience of finishing a novel and picked up Ethan Frome instead. Again, this is one I plan to finish. At some point.

Feel free to talk me into/out of reading any of these in the comments.

7 comments:

incandescens said...

I would strongly recommend _Silverlock_. It's a great book, plus you have all the fun of playing spot-the-character and spot-the-setting.

Eldritch00 said...

If I ever did a list of ten of my many unread books, I'd implode with the guilt.

I've never read any of the books here, but Harrison is the one I'm most familiar with. He's one of my favorite writers, so I'll start with that, if I did have it.

(Well, actually, I'll read the two novels in Anima first, which I recently got, but you know...)

Niall said...

Given that Astrid's voice is one of the reasons I love the book so much, if you don't get on with it we're probably not going to see eye-to-eye! On the other hand, the other characters' voices are all different, so you could skip forward and try one of them.

You should also read the Bulgakov.

Anonymous said...

Don't read Anna Karenina. It's an awful book, the lead character comes off as cold and selfish, to a degree where I honestly could not understand why two seemingly decent men could fall for her.

That for me is the tragedy, not the fact she chucks herself under the train. I wish she'd done it at the start of the book.

And the tangents! The four million minor/meaningless characters! Pointless and a pain in the arse for the reader.

It's a fault of all Russian novels, not just this one. But no, give this book to your library.

Psybre said...

Read The Master and Margarita without ado or hestitation. I simply cannot wait to read your review.

Thank you,

Mark

audrey said...

I also have The Master and Margarita on my list, as well as The Accidental. My gentleman friend just finished the former and was moderately enthusiastic about it, which in his language means its t'riffic.

Ilana said...

I have also been putting off reading "The Master and the Margarita." And a whole bunch of other books, besides. I just started one of my most put off books that has been highly recommended by a gazillion people, "Blood Meridian" by McCarthy.

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