I’ve been very faithfully trying to finish Anna Karenina of late (I might have mentioned that already) and it’s taking up more time than I thought. As such, I haven’t had much time for other books, but now that I’ve got some time off, I can plan for next week. I’m also reading Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red which is interesting, to say the least. Anyway, there’s some stuff on my bookshelf I really need to start on.
1) Lincoln in the Bardo (George Saunders):
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know this one. Man Booker winner last year and all. (I talk a lot about the Bookers on this blog, but as a non-European reader, that’s part of how I keep up with what’s happening over there.) I didn’t actually know anything about Saunders and assumed it was his first novel, but apparently he’s got a lot of short story collections out there, which I’d be very interested to follow up with if I like this one. The ‘bardo’ is a transitional state between death and rebirth (in the Tibetan tradition) where Lincoln’s son Willie finds himself. A fascinating and unusual premise, no doubt; I have to say I’m not entirely sure I’m going to like this and it might just be too weird for me, but it’s definitely a novel concept.
2) Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel):
I borrowed this a couple years back and never got past a couple pages (and eventually had to return it) but it’s been recommended to me innumerable times the last few years. I kept waiting for it to get cheaper online and then finally gave up and bit the bullet so now I have a couple. I somewhat optimistically picked up the sequel too so I really want to get around to this at some point in the (near) future. It deals with Henry VIII’s reign and Thomas Cromwell is a primary character, and that’s pretty much all I know at this point. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of googling for facts once I actually start reading it.
3) 20th Century Ghosts (Joe Hill):
I haven’t as yet read anything by Hill but this has been on my shelf since forever and it seems that whenever I remember I should read it it’s always a bit too late (as in, past 9 pm, and I’m not generally frightened by horror but I also value my sleep too much to risk it). I like short stories and I don’t mind horror, so I’m looking forward to this.
4) In the Light of What We Know (Zia Haider Rahman):
I really should be ashamed of myself. I bought this some five years ago, I’ve started it innumerable times, but haven’t made much progress. The sad thing is that the book is in no way boring, it’s just that every time I’ve started it I’ve somehow happened upon something I’ve been dying to read, or I read another dustjacket and end up reading something totally random. I mean, one might say then that the book isn’t interesting enough but I’ve yet to give it a fair chance and every book needs a certain amount of patience. This is supposed to be a novel spanning continents, about the friendship of two men. And I hope that in due time I’ll learn more about it by actually picking it up and reading it.
As always I like to keep my standards low so I hope to finish at least one of these. I get very easily distracted by a good dustjacket pitch. Also I’ve been looking at a lot of those ‘summer reads!’ lists which is dangerous because my TBR list is not getting any shorter and hasn’t been anywhere close to a realistic measure for years, no chance of my fixing it now. If you’ve read any of these/are looking forward to reading anything in particular, let me know!