Only fiction and memoir get shelved in the two bookshelves in my office. Non-fiction (with the exception of books on craft) gets relegated to either the bookshelves in the living room or it goes with the art books in Scott’s studio. Short story collections and essays are on top of an armoire in the bedroom between two bookends. This includes the entire collected works of Chekov. Most of these volumes technically belong on the “To be Read” category also, but I’ve segregated them because I do sometimes grab a volume and read one story.
The “To be Read” pile causes me problems. I’ve alternated between shelving the books where they belong – which would be alphabetically, by author – and pulling them out and leaving them in haphazard piles because I’m afraid I’ll lose track of them. Now there are so many that even outside the shelves, they need their own system of organization. Choosing which book to read next is typically a highly impulsive decision. It depends on how much energy I have, what I’ve read last and what time it is when I’m ready to turn to page one.
I’ve organized the books I have not yet read in several different stacks, according to loose categories and I’ve decided to show them to you and ask for your recommendations for what I absolutely must read next in each category.
Let’s start with what I’m about to read next. I just finished a book today and I’ve decided to read Atonement, by Ian McEwan now. I loved On Chesil Beach and Kristen highly recommends Atonement. To seal the deal, Matthew from my Monday night workshop said that Atonement was one of the two novels he’s read that he felt led to an inevitable ending that he was not necessarily expecting. In case you were wondering (as I was) what the second book was, it’s Black Swan Green, by David Mitchell, and yes, I just ordered it too.
Next, is my stack of books written by people I “know”. A Nail Through the Heart, by Timothy Hallinan is standing face out because it’s the book I finished at lunch today. Tim is the author of a number of books and he’s also a blogger. You can check him out here. More on this excellent book in a future post.
This grouping is comprised of all the signed first edition books I’ve received this year from the Odyssey Books signed first edition club. Amy at The Writers Group previously recommended Free Food for Millionaires and Timothy Hallinan just gave Richard Russo’s Bridge of Sighs five stars in a recent blog post.
Last, by by no means least, I have the titans. The long, hard tomes that I'd like to read for one reason or another. I suspect I'll save and tackle these big guys for vacations or in case I end up in a body cast and incapacitated for months on end. I'm very interested in hearing from anyone who has read any of these books. I can see this picture doesn't show the titles well, so they're: Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, The Recognitions by William Gaddis, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, Swann's Way by Marcel Proust, All four Rabbit Novels by John Updike and Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.
So, I'd love to hear your thoughts -- pros and cons -- about the collection I've accumulated in this overwhelming stack of recycled trees.
What's up next on your TBR stack?