“Have you seen the new Harry Potter movie?”
“Have you read the books?”
“What do you read?” (sometimes accompanied by a tone of indictment)
“What do you read?” It’s a difficult question to answer. I find myself aligning myself with a quote from Fred Chappell: “These readers are almost completely immune to the fevers of contemporary fashions in reading, though they enjoy good new work equally with the older when they are certain they have found it.” I don’t read very many works that are considered “fashionable.” I’m not all that impressed by The New York Times’ bestseller list. It occasionally boasts a few good works, but, for me, most of the works are undeserving of my attention.
The question then, is, what do I read? I won’t delve into my online reading habits; I spend quite a bit of time reading articles about writing, social media, and any other topics that capture my attention. I will share my “offline” reading habits, i.e., the books that currently reside on my nightstand. I’m in the process of reading or am planning to read the following:
- Ovid’s Metamorphoses
- The Essential Rumi
- Beloit Poetry Journal
- C.K. Williams’ Poetry and Consciousness
- Mary Karr’s Lit
- Kelly Link’s Stranger Things Happen
My list reveals a preoccupation with poetry, which is only natural since I’m a poet. Karr’s Lit is a memoir, a genre I only enjoy occasionally. I’m reading Karr’s because I love her writing style and her ability to talk about God and life in the most irreverently reverent manner. I don’t know how she accomplishes that, but she does. I can only hope to write like her some day. Link’s book is a collection of short stories. I like short stories – my obsession with them began in an American Modern class at Hardin-Simmons University – but I actually bought her collection because the stories are “strange.” They belong to the genres of sci-fi and fantasy as well as Gothic horror.
What do I read? I read many things. I just don’t read Harry Potter (My apologies to Harry Potter fans.).
*This post originally was published on July 22, 2011. I still haven’t read any Harry Potter.