This is what comes of puttering: too many things to follow up on simultaneously. That reminds me of Stephen Leacock's line about the man who flung himself out of the house and onto a horse and rode off in all directions at once. That's me all over, like the Scarecrow in Oz when he got torn up and his straw was scattered all over. "That's me all over, " he said.
And when it comes to books, that's me all over. I'm a magpie. Where did it start today? I received a Prime Delivery of a new book whose review I read on Sunday. I ordered it and it was delivered this morning. ONGOINGNESS: THE END OF A DIARY by Sarah Manguso, a young (early 40s-that's young) writer who kept a diary for 25 years because she wanted to "end each day with a record of everything that ever happened "- some 800,000 words. But then, after pregnancy and the birth of a child, she developed a different relationship with her (dare I say obsessive, anal-retentive?) need to document herself in time. So she wrote this short book. And I read her short book today. Ah, she is so young! Like another young (? - they don't give birth dates any more so I'm guessing) writer who came across some old diaries recording two years in her younger life, and who tries again to discover herself. I haven't finished THE FOLDED CLOCK, by Heidi Julavits; she's funny, sort of, but so far I don't really like her as a person.
Well, later today I had a normal delivery of two other books I ordered a week or so ago: Oliver Saks's new memoir/diary ON THE MOVE, and H IS FOR HAWK, a non-fiction account by Helen Macdonald, a woman who raised a hawk and wrote about it. I don't know enough yet; it was recommended by a friend whose reading I trust.
A certain amount of juggling has to go on as more and more books come into the house. I put a couple of books into our occupants' library and one into the Basement Boutique and then I pulled out a bunch of Icelandic and Scandinavian mystery/thrillers (Arnaldur Indriðason, Yrsa Guðrunsdottír, Henkel Menning) or novels (Olaf Olafson) to donate to the members of the Icelandic Canadian Club of Toronto when I give a speech to them in August about Icelandic literature (beginning, of course with the sagas).
So that led me to one of my favourite contemporary Icelandic-Canadian writers, Kristjana Gunnars. I have six of her books and I had to reread one or two of them: THE PROWLER, a novel, I guess, and WAKE-PICK POEMS, a book of poetry. I'm going to have trouble parting with them, have to think about that.
But somewhere in the sorting I picked up a book I bought a while ago, before I went away and had no time for: AN EVENING WHEN ALONE, Four Journals of Single Women in the South, 1827-67, ed. by Michael O'Brien, and I wish I had time to read it now but it's 460 pages and it's getting late. You se, I'm a magpie. Oh, dear.
I did other things today, but none so interesting or worthwhile. Well, now, that's not true; I had tea with two gifted women I swim with. I mean I don't swim with them but I see them when I swim and it was nice to sit at leisure and talk without shivering.