Sunday, September 03, 2017

Twelve Books on the Go?!

I finished two books in quick succession (a Taylor Caldwell novel and a juvenile biography of The Three Stooges) at the end of August, but during these first few days of September, I seem to be in one of those unfortunate cycles in which I can't finish anything and keep adding new reads. As of today, I have 12 books on the go. One dozen! I'm in various stages with each of them.  Some are barely begun, some are nearly finished, but I cannot seem to get the bookmark to move all the way to the end. Nothing qualifies as a DNF, partly because I'm interested in finishing and partly stubbornness.

Here are the twelve books currently languishing on my currently-reading shelf:

1. Washington: A Life. I've been working on this biography of our first president for nearly a year. It's not you, George. It's me. I cannot tell a lie. Also: I'm sorry, Ron Chernow! You know how I loved the hell out of Alexander Hamilton.

2. Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened By the Moon - Leonard S. Marcus. I really disliked the execution of the new Brown biography published earlier this year, so I bought this earlier bio in a fit of pique. After reading a few pages, I felt my annoyance and interest ebbing away. Since this is a real book, as opposed to a digital one, I want to finish it and move it along.

3. A Taste for War: A Culinary History of the Blue and the Gray - William C. Davis. Food. History. What's not to like? A Taste of War is a slim volume, but so far, it's stiff academic reading. Starchy, if I may use a food simile. I can't quit though because, well, food! Recipes! I've never quit on a food book. Never. This book will not be my Appomattox.

4. The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt. I am really ashamed of myself about this one. I got 150 pages in and I stalled. Could not read another word. The book went back onto my Pulitzer shelf where it sits, reproaching me. I must go on because, well, Pulitzer fiction!!!

5. Heads in Beds - Jacob Tomsky. I was enjoying this witty, insider look at the hospitality industry. The small, fat paperback copy fits nicely in my purse. I need to put in back in there for all those dull blank moments in which I'm stranded somewhere without a book.

6. Clockers - Richard Price. A rich, complex novel that reminds me very much of The Wire. Alternating chapters tell of drug dealers and the cops who work that beat. I got stalled when the POV shifted. I will return to Clockers; it's too good to set aside permanently.

7. A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles. I am almost through with this novel. I didn't love it the way I loved Towles' previous effort, Rules of Civility, but it's pretty good. I wish I hadn't gotten sidetracked.

8. Buried Child - Sam Shepherd. I am having to accustom myself, after many years, to reading in play form again. All those stage directions and blocky blocks of dialogue.

9. See What I Have Done - Sarah Schmidt. A novel based on the Lizzie Borden case. Schmidt relies heavily on atmosphere, and my nerves felt jangly after a while. Needed a break at the halfway mark.

10. The Cooler King - Patrick Bishop.  The true story of William Ash, the pilot who was "the greatest escaper" from WWII German POW camps. Steve McQueen's character in The Great Escape was based on Ash's experiences. I've only just started this book, but I can see that it's well-written and the style engaging.

11. Confederates in the Attic - Tony Horwitz. My son and I are both reading this book at the same time! I do love a good, impromptu mother/son book club.

12. Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis - Ed Sikov. A fun, gossipy read. I'm hoping that it will be a nice balance of discussion about Bette Davis's life and an intelligent examination of her film roles.

So there you have it. Someone please scold me and send me to my room with my books and strict orders not to come out until I've completed a few.


Sue F. said...

Wow! 12 books? You impress me! I have 4 going right now and thought that was a lot!

Unruly Reader said...

You are hereby grounded. (Does that give you complete permission to do only reading? I hope so!)

Don't feel bad about the Chernow. I've been reading Alexander Hamilton for a year now, and I'm loving it. But it's a big, beautiful monster, and that takes time when one is reading, say 12 other books...