Do you ever just feel crushed under the weight of the books that you should be reading? I am finally getting around to Middlemarch, and the further I read the more I love it. It clearly is a book that deserves being reread, because the characters are so rich and well-developed that you can only fully appreciate them through multiple readings. But do I have time?
Ursula K. LeGuin has just died. I started to write “passed away,” and immediately deleted it as the sort of wimpy phrase that she would despise. A Wizard of Earthsea became one of my favorite books from the moment I finished it, but it’s been many years since I re-read it. Do I have time?
Authors coming from other cultures and races and perspectives are finally having a chance to be published. I actually started and stopped reading Angie Thomas’s brilliant The Hate U Give. Stopped, because her voice in that book is so fresh and stunning and real that I immediately felt out of place. It starts with a party, and introverts like me don’t love parties that much, but more than that it just wasn’t a party I would ever be invited to. It was uncomfortable. I loved it, but it took me awhile to be able to sit with it. By the end, I wanted to start it all over again. Do I have time?
The thing is, every book I read makes me richer in some way, but every book I read is another book I don’t have time to read. At this time of year, I’m trying to catch up on the 2017 books while understanding that it’s at the cost of the 2018 books. It’s possible that when I am old enough to retire, I will have time to read All the Books. I’m not sure when just the joy of reading seemed like enough to me, and when that changed to feeling like I needed to have a voice in trying to influence what other people read. But I do think it is probably time to finish Middlemarch as I have finished The Hate U Give, and to pick up A Wizard of Earthsea again.
Time…it just keeps marching on. Writers, they just keep writing on. I can’t keep up, but I guess that’s okay.