The lists. Books coming out in 2013. Everywhere. And we all jump on them like the Sears holiday catalogs of old where one might pick out every toy that strikes one's imagination as a prerequisite to happiness. And then play with those received for 5 days before casting them on to the parental pile of frustrated dismay. So I look through all the lists to see what I might read this year, the new and novel that for a few moments (if I do not read attached commentary), I may project every need I may have from a particular book. Until I read that description, those advance reviews, that attraction is perfect, that book lust ideal. The perfect happiness of the uninformed moment.
The book you see above is the perfect example of this. I have no idea whatsoever what this book is about. Coatzee's prose pleases me, the cover art is outstanding, and my Catholic school girl self may take that title and run with any juvenile flights of fancy I might have had (as a nun screamed at me) that Jesus was just as mischievous as a child as me, a thought that evolved with age into "of course Jesus slept with Mary Magdalene." So The Childhood of Jesus goes on the wish list of possibilities.
Then there is the lure of reading a favorite author in a different genre or format. The upcoming release of Bolano's collected poetry. Or a series of lectures that Borges gave in 1966 at the University of Buenos Aires that span from the Vikings to Oscar Wilde. And the additional appeal of having two go-to books this year that don't consume my attention all at once but provide important dip-ins of intense focus.
Favorite authors. I read whatever Gaiman publishes, and just love the title of this one. So The Ocean at the End of the Lane makes the wish list even though I know nothing about it. And The Infatuations because I am completely infatuated with Marias, and am busting out of my skin trying to imagine how his writing from a woman's point of view will play out. His observations of women are so idiosyncratic and so distant that I wonder how he will close that divide to inhabit a woman's thoughts and voice.
And finally, there are the books that remind you that you never got around to reading those other new release books years ago that you coveted so much at the time. I was so excited about Exodus when I read, “The final volume in Iyer’s gloomily brilliant trilogy about a toxic friendship between unfortunate philosophy dons, boozing and bitching in the great tradition of Beckett’s double acts.” (The Guardian), but then remembered that I had neglected to read both Spurious and Dogma that I was equally excited about when they were published. So I add three books to the list instead of just the one. And then the new Anne Carson you see above would be so much more meaningful if I read my long-neglected copy of The Autobiography of Red first. Add two more.
What 2013 new releases have you the most (perhaps unrealistically) excited about reading?