When I read Mohsin’s Hamid’s “By the Book” interview in The New York Times, I was especially comforted to see him admit to having a pile of books that he wished “to intend to read” but would never read. So I’m not the only one?
I am not sure if I read more books than I did not read in 2022, which is to say that I’ve purchased more books this year than I dare to count. Have I read more than half of them? I have no idea.
I did read some amazing novels this year. Highlights will be posted on my What I’m Reading page shortly. The Rabbit Hutch, which was miraculous, won the National Book Award in November.
But there are plenty of excellent books that I have purchased and haven’t opened. Weirdly, many are by writers I love. For instance, I haven’t touched The Mirror & The Light, Hillary Mantel’s third novel in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy. I read the other two. Loved them.
What about the book that made Madeline Miller famous? Song of Achilles? Haven’t touched it. Have read her Circe twice. It’s a book that’s precious to me. But that’s apparently not enough to get me to sit down with Achilles and Patroclus.
Jennifer Egan’s The Candy House? One of the biggest books of the year? Nope. Have it. Haven’t read it. A Visit from the Goon Squad blew my mind. It’s one of the most remarkable, inventive books I’ve ever read. I think about it all the time. Has that admiration and inspiration gotten me to open her latest offering? Not yet.
How about the aforementioned Mohsin Hamid? I have loved everything of his that I’ve read. I had a quote from Exit West stuck to my fridge for 18 months. Have I picked up my signed copy of The Last White Man yet? I have not. And it’s only 180 pages long!
I have a friend who has written some very successful business books. I once confessed to him over lunch that I’d purchased his latest, but that I hadn’t yet read it. He said, “I don’t care if you read it, I care that you bought it.”
I don’t know if the esteemed fiction writers I mention here would feel the same way, but at least their books are sitting in my living room, wrapped in my best intentions. Maybe I’ll get a few of them read over the holidays. . . .
Hope your holiday season is a lovely one and that 2023 brings you lots of time to sit and read delicious books!
As always, I’d love to hear from you via Instagram at lisa_poulson_writer.