I have a problem. I am out of control. I can’t stop. I have piles of books … everywhere. They call to me; “Read me, Charlie. READ ME!” And I suffer because I can’t read them all at once. Some of them don’t even know I have a storage unit FULL of boxes of other books – books that were once like them – waiting to be read nearby – and now languish across town. They don’t know that the last two times I moved, both times, I gave away PILES of books, and left others behind. I know – logically – that I probably ALREADY own more “to be read” books than I will be able to read during my lifetime. Still, I keep accumulating more. And now, they are backing up on my Kindle as well. The picture is the four that have come most lately to the pile:
- Gary Shteyngart’s Little Failure: A Memoir
- Rachel Kushner’s The Flame Throwers
- The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard
- Elizabeth Spencer’s Starting Over
– and I STILL need to get Armistead Maupin’s The Days of Anna Madrigal and Adam Sternbergh’s Shovel Ready. I’d have them now but for the fact my Amazon gift cards are used up and I need to replenish. And I know I shouldn’t. Because – I HAVE ENOUGH BOOKS TO OPEN A LIBRARY. And too, I have to SNEAK IN the new books because the older books get so upset; they cry, “NO, DON’T PUT THEM ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE, THAT’S WHERE I BELONG! I WAS HERE FIRST!” or, they whisper, “Don’t you remember how GOOD it feels to read a trashy paperback mystery cozy? COME ON. PICK ME UP AND OPEN ME, BABY!” I hate hurting their feelings. I wish I could read them all RIGHT NOW but – things happen – and, well, a new, heralded shiny comes along – or, I am reading an article (or another book) and discover that there exists a book from “ago” I should have heard about and read (thus, Joe Brainard) or one of my favorites, a legend, who wrote something I loved – say, “Light in the Piazza” –which had huge meaning in my life, writes another (Elizabeth Spencer) or – well, you see how things happen. I don’t mean to be so fond of so many – so easily swayed and persuaded – but I am.
First step; admit I have a problem and it’s out of my control. Done. Could be worse I guess. I could be high and drunk, speeding through metro-streets in a rented Lamborghini. So, yeah. All good. Now, to arrange my schedule so I can hit the new downtown bookstore tomorrow and HOPE they have the Maupin and Sternbergh – and PROMISE MYSELF I WILL NOT BUY ANYTHING ELSE THERE!