The Book Life

On Reading

I majored in English in the Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University, located in the delightful somewhere place of Athens, Ohio. Then I spent four years reading what they told me to read, except in the brief and beautiful summers. I know history is important, but did I really have to read Spenser’s The Faerie Queen?

Embarrassing gaps remain: Hemingway, my inability to spell the word “embarrassed” correctly on the first try, Faulker, Crime and Punishment, my general inability to finish anything Russian.

On the opposite end, hilarious overcompensation: Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, the complete short stories of Flannery O’Conner, the complete collected letters of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, every issue of The New Yorker, cover-to-cover, since I began subscribing, three years ago.

So I love books and reading and so forth, and am continually distressed by the number of books I want to read and my increasingly diminishing time in which to read them. But I try.

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