>What to read?

If you’re like me, you have no shortage of unread books (or piles of unread books) from which to choose for your next read. I’m finishing up two books today and have my eye on a couple more, plus some journals, with which to start the week. But if you haven’t made up your mind, here are some suggestions, starting with Believers by Nathan Leslie. I haven’t seen the book yet, but the organizing principle of this short fiction collection is intriguing–it’s all about people involved in different, and in some cases peculiar, belief systems. Since I’m currently working on a story that fits that description, I’m particularly interested. Leslie has published several other books and has stories forthcoming in, among other places, Shenandoah. Check out his appearances schedule on his website, especially if you live in Virginia or Maryland.

As for those piles of books in my study, they include at least a dozen books I brought home from Bread Loaf (now stacked on top of those I brought home from Sewanee), and those I’ve acquired in an irrational book-buying spree in response to a strong Fall publishing season. Among those from which I will be choosing: Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children, Jim Tomlinson’s Things Kept, Things Left Behind, Peter Carey’s Theft, Ben Fountain’s Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, and Sarah Waters’s Night Watch. But, seriously, that’s a much-abbreviated version of the menu.

And if that’s not enough, I’ve seen some interesting suggestions in magazines lately. The October issue of Men’s Journal has a brief review of Cormac McCarthy’s new novel, The Road, due out soon. It sounds great (“the National Book Award winner’s most searing and masterful work since 1985’s Blood Meridian). GQ has a list of the “twenty best” books to be published this fall. Their list includes Jonathan Franzen’s Discomfort Zone, as well as new books by Richard Ford, Haruki Murakami, Mark Haddon, Charles Frazier and Nell Freudenberger. I can see that my backlog/shelfspace crisis will not easily be resolved.

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