The Books Overhead, part 1

I often get into trouble by taking too many books out of the library at once, loading up my nook with too many books (and samples of books), downloading too many audiobooks to my mp3 player, and requesting too many ARCs from publishers. That doesn’t include other books people give me insisting that I’ll love them, and the huge folder that I keep dropping reviews into, certain that I’ll read those books shortly as well.

I suspect I’m not the only one who is deluded about the number of books I can read or listen to. I cart home armloads from the library and then return some portion unread; so sad. Then, of course, we forget about those titles, until they appear on “best” lists and then we cart them home from the library or download them to our devices once again.

So in several parts, in several days, here’s the list of what’s waiting for me, starting with the audiobooks on my mp3 player:

The Widower’s Tale by Julia Glass. I’m almost finished with this one and while I’m enjoying it, I think the hard copy would have been a better choice. The reader is very good, distinguishing all the voices in a wonderful way, but the story unfolds in a leisurely manner and Mark Bramhall’s careful reading makes it even more leisurely. I haven’t been driving or walking enough, so I’ve been listening for too long. It reminds me, in its themes, of her earlier novel, The Whole World Over; if you enjoyed that one, you’ll probably enjoy this one, too.

River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh. Ghosh is one of my favorite writers; I listened to The Hungry Tide a several years ago and it still haunts me. River of Smoke is #2 in a trilogy; I read the first part, Sea of Poppies and was hooked into this sweeping tale of Indian history and society. Can’t wait to listen to it, although I’m concerned that I won’t be able to flip back and forth to manage the huge cast.

The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates. I listened to Oates’s Little Bird of Heaven and  downloaded this one hoping it’s as compelling. I have a hard time reading Oates because she’s so unrelentingly grim. We’ll see.

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta. Sounded too intriguing to pass up. Haven’t read anything by Perrotta yet.

The Ask by Sam Lipsyte. Publishers’ Weekly called this a pitch-black comedy; sounds great for audio and the reviews were stellar.

The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace. Well, I couldn’t resist this one, especially after just finishing The Marriage Plot; I’m told the manic-depressive Leonard Bankhead is modeled on Wallace. We’ll see.

The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje. Ondaatje’s never one to miss and this book has been getting such great reviews. It will be an interesting contrast with River of Smoke (above) since both are set on ships in the Indian Ocean.

On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry. I’m looking forward to listening to this one for the beautiful language.

The Paris Wife by Paula McClain. I spent many years reading about Gertrude Stein and the artists and expatriates and artists who circled around her, so I’m interested in this “take” on Hemingway in Paris from the point of view of his wife, Hadley.

Great Expectations and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. These are just in case I run out of books to listen to. Likely, huh? Not to mention that there are also 3 French language audio courses waiting too…

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