Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year's Read

I've always used at least part of the long New Year's weekend to think about the books I want to read in the next twelve months. No less this year than others, and since the weekend extends through a Monday I've stretched the process, enjoying every moment of it.

My favorite part of the process is selecting the "big" books I want to lose myself in during the depths of winter. The curl-up-and-burrow-into-the-story books that make raw winter nights such excellent islands of reading. (And chilly early mornings, too, when a quick dash to fill the mug with steaming coffee or tea is followed by an equally quick dash back beneath the blankets for just a few more pages.)

Snow days are the best of all -- with sleety days only slightly behind them. 

So I prowled my shelves last night both before and after midnight, and have continued to prowl and ponder all day today.

I had thought for awhile that my top pick for the winter's first big book would be a revisiting of One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I haven't read in over a decade, and which has been calling to me for some time.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I wanted to save Marquez for warmer months, to read him in the shady glade near the garden on a sweltering day, maybe with a beer or two chilling in the creak near my garden chair.

 So I have continued to look, considering both old favorites that I haven't read in years -- Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, Oates's them, Bellow's Augie March from the century just past, James's The Ambassadors, Stendahl's Charterhouse of Parma, Dickens's Bleak House -- as well as some of the big books that I have yet to read at all -- Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, Bolaño's 2666, Styron's Set This House on Fire.

So many books -- so little winter!

I'll make my decision sometime tomorrow (I hope) -- and would welcome any suggestions from anyone who also shares the sense that cold winter nights and warm long books are made for each other.

2 comments:

about said...

How about Durell's "Alexandria Quartet"? Wonderful over and over again.

Keith Ferrell said...

Excellent suggestion -- and likely to be the next on my winter read list if the first goes as quickly as it promises to.