It may not surprise you to learn that there's too much "stuff" in the apartment My Lovely Wife and I share. Back when I was a bachelor I didn't much care about this issue, but now I'm sharing space with The Woman I Love, and have also developed, even slightly independent of that fact, a kind of appreciation for keeping one's living space kind of, you know, livable, and stuff. So I've always got to come up with new ways of stemming the tide of new stuff coming into the house. Hence, good opportunities to concoct, and try to follow through on, some kockamamie schemes.
Like my new what-to-read resolution. Which is: no "new" books enter the house until I have read the volumes that have found their way onto our headboard/shelf. These would be, from top to bottom, left row: Lydia Davis' new translation of Madame Bovary; Samuel Delaney's Dhalgren; Orwell's Homage to Catalonia (I know, I know); Henry Adams' History of the United States of America during the Administrations of James Madison' Melville's Typee, Oomo, and Mardi (I know, I know); and Ben Hecht's epic autobiography A Child of the Century, which I've read voluminous fabulous chunks of but want to go all the way through from front to back. Right row, from top: Mann's Doctor Faustus, Harry Mathews' new poetry collection, The New Tourism; Robin Evans' Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays; Hawthorne Tales and Sketches; Gerhard Richter's Writings 1961-2007 (an expansion of The Daily Practice of Painting, which has been a bedside book forever); Robert Caro's legendary Robert Moses biography, The Power Broker; and Eric Karpedes' Paintings in Proust. Until they're done, nothing. I've already finished the Mann, which reading was at least a little counter-productive to the whole no-more-new-stuff idea, as it did set me off to compare recorded versions of late Beethoven piano sonatas and string quartets, but that didn't get too crazy...and I'm now very much enjoying the Davis Bovary. I make this announcement perhaps to provide a sneak preview of future "Literary Interludes" but also to, you know, do it in public so I can be held accountable by outside authorities. So there you have it. How long you think it'll take me?