reading

Troubles and Titles

It rarely happens but – it happens.

I was having an extremely hard time yesterday deciding which book to pick up next… There is a nice pile of Russian literature waiting by the pillow since I aimed for a “Russian Winter”. Tolstoy, Sholokhov, Pasternak, rereading Pushkin… I am still aiming for it, actually… The problem emerged when, reading Paris Review interview with A.S. Byatt, I felt a desire to immediately throw myself into one of her novels. Remembering the experience I had with Possession only added more flames to the fire. But, it could not be – unless I was to read it on my laptop. One book a month is OK, but three or four is out of the question. I certainly don’t want to worsen my eye-sight.

I also had to say goodbye to all the other wonderful, alluring ideas coming to my mind: a month of E.M. Forster, discovering Joyce Cary’s First Trilogy or continuing The Border Trilogy, finding out what Barbara Pym is like, or Maupassant… Checking my list of books to read, I noticed that great many of them, around 80% or even more, are available to me as e-books only. I need to get myself a Kindle. 

To restore my good humor, I started reading Howard’s End is on the Landing (can’t help it, I love reading about reading) and it proved to be a good choice. In the second chapter Hill tells about book titles:

A good title makes a pattern, has a rhythm and can be rolled very satisfactorily round in the mouth, even recited like a verse to cheer up dull moments.

Just what I needed. I merrily dug myself into the all-books Shelfari shelf and made a list of some of my favorite titles:

  • Winesburg, Ohio
  • All the Pretty Horses
  • My Family And Other Animals
  • Some Do Not
  • A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
  • Flight Behavior
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of Her Own Making
  • If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler
  • Fishing for Amber
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • Wide Sargasso Sea
  • Grapes of Wrath
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
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4 thoughts on “Troubles and Titles

  1. I’ve been after that Susan Hill book for a while. I enjoyed A Pound of Paper which is a good memoir on collecting. I like that idea of rolling a title around your mouth like cigar smoke. I’m not sure if I have the palate for doing this…although I admire your choices.

    1. It is a good book. The one thing I don’t like is how fast my books-to-read list is extending with every chapter read. So many authors I have never heard of, like William Trevor and John McGahern, and many others known to me only by their names..
      It is fun pronouncing The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making!
      I’ll note A Pound of Paper on my list, too – sounds interesting.

  2. Oh…reading those interviews is deadly for my TBR. I nearly always have that same reaction you’ve described…even when I’m only remotely curious about the writer to begin with!

    1. Sometimes I almost wish I wasn’t born into this information-explosion era. There is so much on the offer that I often feel uneasy for choosing this author instead of that, while thinking about the third one, and fourth, at the same time.. But only sometimes!.. And almost!

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