Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Maude Newton muses on Iris Murdoch today, particularly on her book The Sea, The Sea. I have not read this book, nor have I read Murdoch. She is on my list of authors I need to get around to reading sometime. She went on the list several years ago and I still haven't gotten around to her. Maude's post reminded me of that. It also made me worry because the list of authors and books never shrinks, it just manages to grow and grow and grow. I could do nothing else but read for the rest of my life and still not come to the end of the list. That thought is upsetting because I will, and do, miss so many great books. But excitement lies on the flip side of that. I never have to worry about not having anything to read. Never have to worry about there not being a "new" author to try. In spite of my personal lists and my books of lists (Book Lust, The New Lifetime Reading Plan, 500 Great Books by Women), I am not a purposeful reader, I have no plan. I did have a plan once, several years ago. I had a calendar called great women writers or something like that, and it had a photo or painting of the woman writer of the month. That year I read at least one book by the featured author each month. I read a few authors I would not have otherwise (M.F.K. Fisher) and that I had always meant to read (Willa Cather), but in the end it felt kind of like school, forced and obligatory, and that's no way to read a book. I have no idea when I will get around to reading Iris Murdoch. I feel a little sad about that. Do I need a plan? Maybe it's the old Protestant work ethic that my parents so obligingly instilled in me rearing its ugly head that makes me think I do. But I'm going to rebel. Instead of a plan I will just put The Sea, The Sea on my book list in bold letters. That way the more I notice it the more likely I am to remember it and read it. I just made a plan didn't I?