Books to put aside

Finally, a decision: I not only know what sorts of things I want to write, I am also willing to admit that there are things I�m not much interested in reading. I have had them on my shelves, in some cases for years, and their presence just makes me feel guilty. I don't read rapidly -- it can take days, sometimes a week, before I get through a novel (I suppose it wouldn't if I made it a full-time occupation, but I also have a life, and can give no more than an hour or two a day to fiction, and sometimes not that). So, just so I can keep track, here are some of the books that I am taking off my shelves and putting in a box somewhere until something or someone convinces me I need to retrieve and read them. Maybe somebody reading this can persuade me.
Buckley, William F., Jr. (1986). High Jinx. Garden City, NY, Doubleday. Well, it was cheap, on a second-hand table, and I was mildly curious to see whether such an obnoxiously supercilious and stubbornly wrong-headed essayist could write amusing spy fiction. But I'm not really that curious.

Danticat, Edwidge (1994). Breath, Eyes, Memory. New York, Vintage Contemporaries. I did try to read this, but it seemed too sentimental & forced to hold my attention. Maybe I'm just tired of the reconstructed folklore of nostalgia. I�d rather read Danticat write about being a displaced Haitian in New York, or read a real Haitian writing in Haiti. I got through her collection Krik Krak, and that was enough of that sort of thing.

Fitzgerald, Penelope (1986). Innocence. New York, Mariner Books. Somebody gave this to me. I don't remember who or why. A. S. Byatt blurbs (from Threepenny Review) on the back cover: "What is remarkable about Innocence is the completeness of its Italianness" So maybe I'll fetch it out when I'm looking for Italianness. But then, why not read an Italian? Like Calvino, whom I love, and some of whose works I still haven't got to.

Fowles, John (1977). Daniel Martin. New York, Signet. Same as below.
Fowles, John (1965). The Magus. New York, Dell. I loved his The French Lieutenant's Woman (liked the movie version, too; very clever adaptation), but couldn't get into this.

Kosinski, Jerzy (1973). The Devil Tree. New York, Hart Court Brace Jovanovich. I may have actually read this and the other Kosinski book some time in the past, and have just forgotten. I did read Painted Bird, I'm sure, and enough essays and interviews to wonder why anybody was paying this author so much attention. His main fictional character was himself.
Kosinski, Jerzy (1977). Blind Date. New York, Bantam.

Paris Review, Nos. 18 & 21 (because I've already read their good parts)

Spackman, W. M. (1997). The Complete Fiction of W. M. Spackman. Normal, IL, Dalkey Archive Press. Includes: Heyday (1953); An Armful of Warm Girl (1978); A Presence with Secrets (1980); A Difference of Design (1983); A Little Decorum, for Once (1985); As I Sauntered Out, One Midcentury Morning (previously unpublished). Maybe someday I will read the second one-- love that title -- but not any time soon.

Trevor, William (1980). Other People's Worlds. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, UK, Penguin. I like Trevor's stories a lot, but by now I feel I've read enough of them that I have no more to learn from him.

Updike, John. Couples (and all the Rabbit books, too). He is celebrated for his graceful style, but I've been exposed to enough of that in his essays and the couple of novels I did read -- Coup and the two Blech books. But I read those for their content; I wanted to know about the imagined life of a midlist author (Blech), because I could imagine myself trapped in such mediocrity, and Coup was supposed to be about Africa, and does have some stunning descriptions. But I just don't care about the neuroses of middle-class suburbia. So into the box they go.

There'll be more, I�m sure, but that's enough purging for one Easter morning. For notes on some of the books I have read, go here.