I dreamed last night that I heard a big van pull up outside my house, and something heavy hit the ground. Went outside and found a huge shipment from Amazon — hundreds of paperbacks delivered to me on two large wooden thingies (damn, what are they called, those squarish wooden platforms that heavy stuff sits on?) All of ’em, authors whose names I didn’t recognize. A la Roy Scheider, I thought, “We’re gonna need a bigger bookshelf.” Didn’t give one second’s thought to how I’d find the time to read them.
I’ve been bad about this for some time now. A quick perusal of my library reveals I’m especially lazy in reading short story collections and nonfiction. It’s rare for me to leave long fiction unread, although Michael Moorcock’s Elric series lies dormant (never really grabbed me), and I never quite finished Vance’s Tales of the Dying Earth. But short story collections? I have Gogol, Chekhov, Maugham (to name three off the top of my head). Maureen McHugh’s Mothers and Other Monsters, from which I enjoyed the first story, but never managed to reopen. Library of America collections from Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, and Dashiell Hammett. And in nonfiction, I could go on and on . . . numerous popular science books, Sara Benincasa’s memoir, T. E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom (which exists unread in my library, as well as on my Nook).
I regard this as a form of shopaholism. See it, want it, buy it. A very mild form of the disease, given that my birthday prezzy Barnes and Noble gift certificate (from my sister) still lies unused . . .