04 Books I'm Surprised I Haven't Read

In which our heroine scans her shelves for books she really ought to have read by now

Let’s skip the intro because if we don’t I’ll just wax poetic about the two things I’ve been obsessing over lately: traveler’s notebooks and emergency room bills. What do these have in common? Well, uh, they’ve both convinced me to splurge in the last week. (I’m fine; America’s healthcare system is dumb, but soon I’ll have a new notebook to soothe my irritation.)

Moving on to books. This week, I decided to pull a few books off my shelves that, despite owning, I still have not read.

Should Have Been Reading

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

It seems crazy that I still haven’t read this. It’s a focal point of a recurring question on Drunk Booksellers (what’s your Station Eleven pick?). And yet. I started it a couple years ago, but apocalypse novels freak me out and I couldn’t get past the disease spreading. I think I stopped at chapter four. I was even told that the apocalypse part doesn’t last very long. Anyway, I almost feel the time for reading this has past. But I assume I’ll get to it one day. Two apocalypse books I do like: Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal (a comic about a post-apocalyptic society in which men are extinct) and Severance by Ling Ma (an apocalypse novel where people turn in to sort of stagnant, repetitive zombies).

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Friends freak when I tell them I haven’t read this book. I’m sure I’ll love it; I’m not sure what’s stopping me from starting. I only recently bought it. And I guess I still don’t know what it’s about so I haven’t been in the mood to read it—or I have and just didn’t know that that particular mood was the perfect Geek Love mood. But also you know that feeling where you’re afraid a book will disappoint you? Or, worse, that you’ll disappoint the book? You’ll recognize that it’s good and you ought to love it but something is missing? I’m not saying that’s what’s going on here. Just making excuses for why I haven’t read this.

Palimpsest by Cat Valente

I bought this book from Elliott Bay during the inaugural Indie Bookstore Day in 2015—the first time I visited the bookstore I now work at. I didn’t actually remember purchasing it until I flipped the book over, recognized the label, and noticed the date on it is Feb 2015. I bought it because my first and favorite Cat Valente book, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of Her Own Making was conceived of, I’m told, as a children’s book in the world of Palimpsest. Actually, this is another one I started but did not continue. I’ve read the entire Fairyland series and Radiance and Space Opera and The Refrigerator Monologues. But not this one. Not yet.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

I saved this one for last. It is the book I am most surprised I still have not read. Shirley Jackson is one of my favorite authors, this book is one of her most famous. I tell people I’m saving it for a day when I just need to read something I know I’ll love. It’s not like there will be no Jackson left after I’ve read this. The only other novel of hers I’ve read is The Haunting of Hill House. Her memoirs, Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons are two of my favorite audiobooks—they are my comfort food and I never get tired of them. And I can always re-read the Ruth Franklin biography. No, it’s not about being left without new and exciting Jackson. I guess it’s just one of those books I’m not quite ready for.

Currently Reading

I’m half reading too many books right now, and I don’t feel like gushing about any of them. Am I in a reading slump? I have suspected, but not admitted. I ripped through two novels very quickly and now I’m looking around, slack-jawed, wondering what to read next. One of the four books I just told you I haven’t read yet? Or maybe something slim. Or a short story collection. I’m open to suggestions. Did you know you can reply to these newsletters? Tell me what to read next.

Until next time, here is a picture of a cat and a book I just started:

Other Ways to Find Me On the Internets

Once a month (or so) I host a podcast called Drunk Booksellers where my best friend and I interview a fellow bookseller while drinking. I sometimes tweet about books and politics. I sometimes post pictures of books I’m reading, or cats I’m hanging out with on Instagram.

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NOTE: Most book links go to Indiebound so you can shop local via the Internet. Also, they are affiliate links so if you purchase something I get a tiny kickback (which goes towards my podcast because why have two affiliate accounts). Why shop local? Long answer: Here are a bunch of economic impact studies about the importance of shopping local. Short answer: bookstores are good/warm/lovely places that add so much value to the community, but they are also businesses, which cannot survive if you’re not shopping there.
Thanks to Lara Kaminoff for the cat mascot, Giles. Find more of her work here. Follow her on Instagram here.