Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Reading Problem

I've started reading a Muriel Spark novel called A Far Cry From Kensington. It's brilliant. Like the other Spark novels I've read, Memento Mori and The Comforters, Kensington is extremely economical. Spark's sentences are each and all just so, the characters are perfectly drawn with a flick of the wrist, and the story is a little bit weird. I mean, it's just a little bit weirder than real life but no so weird that it feels impossible. And, like I said, she's economical. Her books aren't gorgeous the way Penelope Fitzgerald's novels are short and devastating and so beautiful (check out The Bookshop), but this novel, like the other two, has taken me in and won't let me go. Oh, and it's funny. I mean, funny in every way funny can be. Which means it's hard to keep up with other stuff. The problem is there's just too much to read and not all that much time. I know everyone has this problem, but I'm really feeling it these days and I think it's because if and when I fall completely into a book, I get greedy. I want to read more and more books and like them more. Which means I have to read all the time. But I also want to knit. And sometimes I'm too tired to read. And then there's my husband, I have to have conversations with him -- I like him so much! And if there are phone calls to make or cookies to bake, The New Yorkers pile up, the New York Times gets left unread, and my book pile becomes insurmountable. Never mind the web. So it goes. I love A Far Cry from Kensington, and soon enough, I'll be sad that it's over, and then I won't know what to read.

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