Tuesday, February 21, 2012

books purchased, not yet read

Back when Nick Hornby used to write (and periodically publish anthologies of) the "stuff I've been reading" column for The Believer magazine, one of my favorite aspects of his pieces was the way he began each monthly reading report with a list of books read and books acquired. The two lists diverged more often than not, and -- as so many bibliophiles will recognize in themselves -- together the two lists made up a much clearer portrait of the whole of who Hornby was and wished he were than if one only took into account the books he'd actually read.

I thought of the The Believer last week when I came across a piece at Publisher's Weekly (via bibliofeminista) by Gabe Habash, The Wonderful and Terrible Habit of Buying Too Many Books. The post as a whole is a great ode to the accumulation of books, and I highly recommend it to anyone else like Hanna and I who find books are the main thing which is pushing us in the direction of a bigger apartment. We both come by it genetically since both sets of parents have, likewise, filled every nook and cranny of homespace with books both read and unread. As Habesh writes:
There are just too many books to read. And while one might make the very good point that you could just wait to buy them when you have more room, there’s something about putting them in a row with other books, read and unread, that creates the cumulative impression of your reading self. Because, when it comes to reading, there will always be more book that you haven’t read than books that you have, and your reading ambition will always be more important than your reading accomplishments.
So for today's post, I thought I'd provide you with an incomplete and altogether random bibliography of ten books on our bookshelves which I've acquired but have yet to read. Here is a portrait of the reader in progress:

Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl by Susan Campbell

Selling God: American Religion in the Marketplace of Culture by R. Laurence Moore

Days of Grace by Catherine Hall

3 Plays: The Political Theatre of Howard Zinn: Emma, Marx in Soho, and Daughter of Venus

Maternal Desires: On Children, Love, and the Inner Life by Daphne DeMarneffe

Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It's Good for Everyone by Richard Settersten and Barbara Ray

Expecting to Fly: A Sixties Reckoning by Martha Tod Dudman

I Do, I Don't: Queers on Marriage edited by Greg Wharton and Ian Philips

The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth by M. Scott Peck

A Pound of Paper: Confessions of a Book Addict by John Baxter

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