Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
The New York Times list of 100 Notable Books is out. Have you seen it? I took a quick gander this morning and realized to my chagrin that I haven’t read a-one of them. I don’t read a lot of non-fiction these days, so fifty of the top 100 weren’t really in contention, yet it does disturb me, now that I look around, that I haven’t even heard of so many of the novels and story collections. I used to pride myself in being completely up on what was buzzing in a given year. I was like a doctor staying in tune with all the latest research. Now, I find, when I do read a novel, it’s either at least ten years old or it’s indie. For some reason I’ve always been a slow reader, savoring my trip through a tome rather than zipping along to get to the end sooner. I remember one year — and maybe it did take me a year to finish — I read Rebecca West’s fascinating Black Lamb and Grey Falcon. It’s a full 1150 pages, but I relished each one. Sometimes it’ll take me a month to read your basic 300-pager, mainly because I don’t have many slots to squeeze in a longish reading session. Plus, I’ve never been one of those to pick up a book when I only have five or ten minutes to spare. It feels like legere interruptus to me. I want to read a number of novels on that list. The new Murakami, the Marilynne Robinson, the Richard Ford, the Denis Johnson. Lydia Davis and Susan Minot are there, along with a whole host of writers I don’t know. Currently, I’m reading House, by Tracy Kidder, from 1985. I have a Jane Smiley cued up, 2003 vintage. And I have numerous indies on my Kindle awaiting the attention they deserve. Have a look at the list. Read any of them? Wanna make some recommendations?