Tuesday, January 27, 2009

To All The Books I Have Not Read

After looking at this book in a library last week, I decided to do a little research on Joseph Conrad. We own some of his works, but have never read one that I know of ( assigned reading of a short story or novella in school is always possible.) In my mind I placed him with Melville and London, without knowing anything about him or his writing style. I vaguely recalled the film Apocalypse Now was based on Conrad's Heart of Darkness (which is in my bookcase.) I didn't know that he was a British author, a Polish author who learned his perfect English in his twenties.


John Updike died. One of my favorite short stories, A&P was written by him. I read it when I was a very young teen, with great interest. And yet I never continued on, to see what his novels were like. Someone even gave me a copy of The Witches of Eastwick and I lost it before opening it. I think I left it in a cab. (If I ever got back all the things I left in cabs I'd have a big pile of hats, gloves, scarves, umbrellas, about twenty eight books, and one nice jacket.) Anyway, Updike wrote a lot of novels, I should put at least one of them on my library list.

To all the books I have not read, I cannot fit you in my head, I know you're on the shelf, and I often tell myself, I'll get to you one day...

--sung to the tune of --To all the Girls I've Loved Before-- (Willie Nelson & Julio Iglesias. ) Here's Johnny Carson messing with Julio & the song.

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8 comments:

tony said...

John Updike was a fine writer (although Carver is still my fav. short story writer)
Conrad was a good Polish Boy!!!Although Im not sure you can tell from his writing.He seemed to have adopted an English Imagination along with the English language (not a bad thing,although a little curious)

Megan said...

I liked Lord Jim. But The Secret Agent is my favorite.

My mom is sad about Updike. First thing she said - "He was so young!"

Mickey,Georgia , Tillie said...

The problem with trying to fit another book on your list are the new books that are currently being written ;) Classics are good but ...
There is still not enough time,hahaha

Avid Reader said...

I was just thinking today, that in some new novels, Obama will be the President mentioned. (as I scanned a novel that mentioned Reagan in passing.) Also new novels often mention a song being played the background-- and you know exactly --there's a nice comfort to that-- novels written in 1900 --the details are so different.

Megan said...

Had to come back and tell you I've been singing the song with your words all day! Fit in with my post as well!

R.L. Bourges said...

I find that library résumé of Lord Jim pretty funny.

'What's your story about, Mr Conrad?"

- "Oh, it tells of a man's attempt to live with himself following an act of cowardice."

(I'm laughing.)

Now, the A & P story I hadn't read before and it's probably my favorite bit of Updike (I never finished The Witches of Eastwick, by the way, so I can't give you the library résumé on it, so sorry.)

Willie Nelson & Julio Iglesias. Singing together. My world will never be the same.

Carry on, A R. There's never a dull moment on your blog.

e said...

I was hooked on his Rabbit books at one time...Sorry to hear of his passing...

I'm currently reading Schlink's The Reader and Obama's Audacity of Hope...Schlink's is dark and complex, and I am now living Obama's, which I think will be far more interesting than fiction.

e said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

My Classic Fiction Book List -Partial List

  • Austen, Jane: (Complete Works)
  • Balzac: Cousin Bette/ Eugenie Grandet / Cousin Pons
  • Best Russian Short Stories
  • Boyle, TC: Short Works
  • Brennan, Maeve : Short Works, 1 Novella
  • Bronte, Emily, Ann, Jane (Complete Works)
  • Brookner, Anita ( Complete Works)
  • Cather, Willa (Complete Works)
  • Chekov: Short Works
  • David Copperfield (Dickens)
  • Dickens:A Tale of Two Cities
  • Dickens:Great Expectations
  • Dickens:Nicholas Nickelby
  • Dickens:Our Mutual Friend
  • Dickens:The Old Curiosity Shop
  • Doyle, Roddy (some novels, memoir)
  • Drabble, Margaret (4 Novels)
  • Drieser, Theodore (Complete Works)
  • Fitzgerald, F.Scott (Most Novels & short works)
  • Hardy, Thomas (Complete Works)
  • Hemingway, Short stories
  • Hemingway: The Old Man in the Sea
  • Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises
  • Hugo: Les Miserables/Hunchback Of ND
  • James, Henry: Daisy Miller
  • James, Henry: In The Cage
  • James, Henry: Portrait of a Lady
  • James, Henry: The Golden Bowl
  • James, Henry: What Maisy Knew
  • James, Henry: Wings of a Dove
  • James, Henry:The Ambassadors
  • James, Henry; The Bostonians
  • Kerouac: Dharma Bums
  • Kerouac: On The Road
  • Kerouac: The Subterraneans
  • Kerouac: Tristessa
  • Lardner,Ring:Short Works
  • Larsen: Quicksand
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Arrowsmith
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Free Air
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Main Street
  • Lewis, Sinclair: The Job
  • MacGill, Patrick (Complete works)
  • Mackin, Walter (novels)
  • Maupassant: Short Works, novels
  • McGahern, John (novels of)
  • McNulty, John (Short Works)
  • Norris, Frank: McTeague
  • O'Brien, Edna (3 Novels)
  • O'Donnell, Paeder : Novels of
  • O. Henry
  • Potok, Chaim (4 novels/1 non fiction)
  • Salinger, JD : Nine Stories
  • Salinger: Franny & Zooey
  • Salinger: Raise High the Roofbeams
  • Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye
  • Sinclair, Lewis: Dodsworth
  • Sinclair, Lewis: Elmer Gantry
  • Sinclair, Upton: King Coal
  • Sinclair, Upton: The Jungle
  • Steinbeck, John: Sweet Thursday
  • Steinbeck: Winter of our Discontent
  • Steinbeck: Cannery Row
  • Steinbeck: East of Eden
  • Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath
  • Theroux, Paul (3 Novels )
  • Toibin, Colm: (Novels of)
  • Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
  • Tolstoy: Short Works
  • Turgenev (2 novels)
  • Twain: T Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi
  • Vonnegut: Early Works (1950s-60s)
  • Wharton, Edith: Novels of/Short Stories
  • Women & Fiction (Edit. Cahill)
  • Zola, Emile ( 10 novels)