I guess that was the first thing by Tolstoy that I ever read, waaay back in elementary school. I still remember the escalation of the man's greed and the frantic, futile, desperate attempt to beat the sunset deadline. Why now? Because I'm guilty of the same greed and the same denial.
I'm reading and culling files but I keep being blind-sided by ideas and proposals and projects and noodges and reviews and so much information that I want to process and make my own, so many books I want to read and absorb. I keep coming across entire folders full of reviews of books that I must have - at one time or another - or so I thought when I clipped and saved the reviews. So I still save them, most of them. How any books does a person need?
Three new books arrived yesterday: Warlight by Michael Ondaatje; Floirda by Lauren Groff; and 21 Questions and 21 Answers by Yuval Harari (Check the title: 21 LESSONS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY), to be added to the new books I have already bought this summer that I haven't read yet. Not that I don't work at it.
Did I tell you I finished Pompeii, by Mary Beard? I read it in deference to my acknowledgement that I will never get to the place in this lifetime, so I chose the most informative book about it that I could find - dense with information - almost like being there (almost). And I read Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, but I didn't buy it. I don't like his work; I quit The Connections at 50 pages and gave it away. I picked up his second novel from the library in my building because I liked the writer, the man (as presented in a recent profile in the NYT). I'm still not a fan of his writing. He's mean to his characters., uses them as puppets for his ends. He's more intent on stating (lecturing) his political convictions - at length! - than he is on character development. I read Where's Bob? by Ann Ireland. I think I told you about that one; it's set in Mexico, with remarkable suspense, and I marvel at the insight Ireland had into three fully-realized female characters. Her novel (fifth) was published in May; she died in August from a galloping cancer, totally unexpected. She was 65.
That brings me back to Tolstoy. How much time does any of us have? I have to recognize that my sunset is long overdue. I think I can still buy green bananas but how many books can I buy and read? Or borrow?