Monday, August 15, 2022

Thoughts on aspirational reading

(That's Orange, who is the mother of 13 of the 17 cats currently residing in the house.)

Someday, probably when I'm retired (LOL), when I don't spend endless work hours fact-checking letters to the editor written in a post-truth world, when there isn't a household Cat Issue™ to deal with every 20 minutes, when my mental energy and focus aren't always running on empty, and hopefully when our leaders have enacted meaningful worldwide efforts to stave off the worst outcomes of man-made climate change ... on that someday, I hope to just relax in a comfy chair and do more aspirational reading.

So much aspirational reading. When that day comes, I'll read chonky books like MacKinlay Kantor's Spirit Lake, which I discovered at the York Emporium four long years ago (seems like a decade ago) and wrote about early 2019. It's 951 pages and, if I started now and attempted to read it my current rate of 3 pages per night before I fall asleep, it would take 11 months in a best-case scenario. That would be a wholly unsatisfying way to consume a great novel.

And when that day comes, I'll tackle other long reads on my shelf. Just looking at the literature shelves, there's Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell, Witch Hammer by Vaclav Kaplicky, The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch, The Overstory by Richard Powers, Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur, and so many others.

I still find ways to satisfy my need to read. Mostly, I read collections of short stories by authors who are new to me. If  I really focus, I can finish one short story on the same day I start it. Right now I'm reading Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories, a collection of sci-fi and fantasy tales by Naomi Kritzer. It's outstanding. I've also read the excellent collection Useful Phrases for Immigrants by May-lee Chai this summer. 

Short-story collections by Julio Cortázar, Jamel Brinkley, Richard Brautigan, Anjali Sachdeva and Silvia Moreno-Garcia await to tide me over to that one fine morning when I can leave my pajamas on, settle in and read some long novels.

1 comment:

  1. In the early nineties, I made a point of taking on the longest book I owned, but had not read, to bridge an old and new year. For example, I remember starting David Graham Phillips' Susan Lenox, Her Fall and Rise in December 1990, and finishing it in January 1991. Others tackled included Norman Mailer's Harlot's Ghost and Executioner's Song. Don't know why I stopped. Dreiser's An American Tragedy beckons!

    Must admit, there's no form I admire more than the novella.