Thursday, December 14, 2006

Books, books, and more books

I've written before about not mooching more books, but I haven't kept that resolution. Surprise, surprise. How can I resist when they are free?? I know I have to mail books to other people in order to mooch books for myself, but it still feels free. I still have four points left, which means four more free books. There are lots of things that look good, but I'm trying to keep the points for books I really, really want, ones I just can't resist. I was this close to getting a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love, for example, but somebody else mooched it before I could put in my request. Sigh.

But, in addition to Alberto Manguel's A Reading Diary and Edmund White's biography of Proust which I mentioned in a previous post, I recently received a Penguin Classic with some of Jane Austen's lesser-known work: Lady Susan, The Watsons, and Sanditon. Books by Jane Austen that I haven't read! What's taken me so long?

I also received just today Rebecca Solnit's A Field Guide to Getting Lost. Solnit is one of my literary heroes. I was reading her book Wanderlust a year or so ago and took it with me on a plane trip and noticed a woman in the airport watching me reading the book with some curiosity. I realized later that the woman looked suspiciously like the author photo of Solnit. I can't be sure, but it might have been her, noticing me reading her book. I wish I could have told her how inspiring I thought her book was.

And, thanks to a mention by Litlove, I have Assia Djebar's Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade on the way, which will do very well when I'm looking for something outside of my usual reading pattern, and also Peter Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard, which will help satisfy my interest in books about walking.

On another topic entirely -- I read Franz Kafka's story "A Hunger Artist" the other day, and I'm planning on posting about it on the short story blog A Curious Singularity, but I haven't quite had the time -- or maybe it's that I haven't had the energy and the courage? -- to write about it yet. I need to re-read it for one thing. And for another, I'm not sure what I will say. It's a great story though, wonderfully strange.

And one more random note here -- I've been trying to decide if I want to do the Winter Classics challenge, but I'm unsure. Part of the problem is time -- I want to finish up the From the Stacks challenge, and I'm not sure I'll have time to do both of these. The other is that I tend to take reading plans and challenges very seriously and if I did it, I'd probably read dutifully through the list, and I think it's better if I keep some room for spontaneity in my book choices. Challenges are fun and I like being a part of a group and they are so tempting because books plans and reading lists are fun, but I'd probably better stay away.