Lists and lists and lists. Everywhere I look. Top books, worst books, books read, books we intended to read, books to read in 2011 and many, many more. I enjoy reading them but always wonder why I seem less enthusiastic than the average reader/blogger about this close of year activity. But as I clear out today in an effort to begin a new year with less clutter, less (sigh) paper, the New Directions Spring/Summer 2011 catalog calls out to me in a way that brings me a little closer to understanding the need to plan the reading life. I want to read nearly every title.
In 2011, New Directions will celebrate its 75th anniversary. Quite the achievement for a small press "devoted solely to the best in literature." A press that maintains some of my favorite authors like Muriel Spark, Tennessee Williams, and William Carlos Williams "with new editions that reflect the latest scholarship on these authors" at the same time they publish new poetry (like this year's beautiful achievement in Anne Carson's Nox) and literature in translation. You can read more about them on their website if you choose or just look at the titles they publish. That list of books speaks for itself, or should I say, it will either speak to you or it won't. As is the case for most of us and our favorite publishers.
So what do I look forward to reading next year from New Directions? Well, a lot but will definitly not miss out on these:
Curriculum Vitae: A Volume of Autobiography by Muriel Spark. This was the year I discovered Spark. Most happily. Now I want it all. And the time to get through the rest of that wonderful biography by Martin Stannard.
The Magic Tower and Other One-Act Plays by Tennessee Williams with foreword by Terrence McNally. A collection of some of the early work that informs the later masterpieces. And all work I have yet to read.
Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles and Speeches, 1998-2003 by Roberto Bolano, edited by Ignacio Echevarria, translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer. Had a small taste of Bolano's personal voice this year in book of interviews, and would like to reach beyond that to his literary criticism as well.
Never Any End to Paris by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean. Paris. Literature. Writing. In the seventies. Hanging out with Duras, Barthes, Perec, Pitol and company. Literary memoir that reportedly reads like a novel.
The Seamstress and the Wind by Cesar Aira, translated from the Spanish by Rosalie Knecht. Aira is an author I have yet to read and hate to admit that I have not and this is Bolano's favorite Aira novel.
On Booze by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Love this Pearl series of small works and as my husband was kind enough to give me all the new Fitzgerald re-designs for Christmas, I think that next year has a Fitzgerald thing coming together. It has been years. And this small book is plugged as "the most intoxicating Pearl yet!" (silly) (giggle)
That should keep me happy and busy. Happy just thinking about it. Joy of the list found.
Have a favorite publisher? Recently experienced some list joy?