Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Every now and then (as you know), I step back from the somewhat obscure titles with which I surround myself and read what the world is reading. This past month I read (and you know this as well) Lit, The Help, Nothing to be Frightened of, Half Broke Horses, The Piano Teacher, and The Music Room (in addition to a series of visual art books). I loved Lit (Mary Karr), and Nothing to be Frightened of (Julian Barnes). I have great respect for the suffused hush and intelligence of The Music Room (William Fiennes) and will write more of that tomorrow. I had reservations (some of them extremely deep) about the other titles.
Nevertheless, with the exception of Looking In, the compendium of Robert Frank photographs, I bought every book that came into my possession this past month—all but two were still in hardcover. I bought these books and I bought a dozen more for family and friends, and then I went and bought some more—not because I was living in personal economic boom times (quite the contrary) but because this is the only way that I know of to support this business we writers are in.
I believe in books, and I will pay to keep them coming. For in that pile on the floor, on the desk, by the chair is a sentence that, I trust, will turn my head, a point of view that will adjust my own, a scene I'd have never imagined, a deviation explained. In that pile is possibility, and I can't live without that.