If you're like me, you have trouble moving about the house because you're always bringing a book to the next room—and if you bring one book, why not two, why not five? (And hey—why not bring two novels, a section of the newspaper, and a magazine *every morning* for the commute? You never know—*you might get bored in the middle of one book and need to switch to another*!)
I'm immobilized by choice.
Last night, I needed the equivalent of a literary apéritif around 1:30—I knew I should be getting to sleep, but part of the ritual is reading a chapter or two before groping for the light switch and nodding off. And it's good to have about a half a dozen books on the nightstand because *what if I get bored* on the way to trying to get to sleep?
With a glint of self-awareness, I decided to only bring one book to bed—and decided it should be one I might actually finish before slumber overtook me. And the title?
Edward Gorey's THE UNSTRUNG HARP! This agreeable little—novella? story? graphic whosit?—has more prose than the usual Gorey book, and it just might be the most enjoyable writing-about-writing (and drawing-about-writing) I know. (The subtitle is *Mr. Earbrass Writes a Novel.*)
It contains, among other things, one of the most delightful lists in (why not say it?) literature, as C.F. Earbrass communes with a general feeling of post-publication bleakness:
"Words drift through his mind: ANGUISH TURNIPS CONJUNCTIONS ILLNESS DEFEAT STRING PARTIES NO PARTIES URNS DESUETUDE DISAFFECTION CLAWS LOSS TREBIZOND NAPKINS SHAME STONE DISTANCE FEVER ANTIPODES MUSH GLACIERS INCOHERENCE LABELS MIASMA AMPUTATION TIDES DECEIT MOURNING ELSEWARDS . . . "
* * * * *
In other favorite-book news: Donna Tartt gives props to Charles Portis's TRUE GRIT in her introduction to a new UK reprint. It appears as an essay in the Guardian.
I too have found it to be a book for the whole family—my parents and sister have all read and enjoyed it.