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.


Anonymous 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.