Words, Words, Words

I recently happened to be on the receiving end of an out-of-the-blue $300 gift certificate to Amazon. This was very convenient, as there were a couple of books I had been wanting. On top of the books, I picked up a couple of magazine subscriptions that I wouldn’t otherwise have bought (one of which my subscription to had just run out). Purchases included the following:

  • The Broom of the System, David Foster Wallace (already had this, but it’s apparently on permanent loan to a friend I haven’t seen in a couple of years)
  • Oblivion: Stories, David Foster Wallace (his newest)
  • Pippi in the South Seas (for Lennie)
  • Pippi Goes to School (for Lennie)
  • Fox in Socks (ostensibly for Lennie; really more for me)
  • Baby Whales Drink Milk (M wanted this one for Lennie)
  • Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi: A Math Adventure (for Lennie)
  • Crossroads of Twilight, Robert Jordan (for M)
  • JR, William Gaddis (I read this a few months ago but wanted to own it; it’s one of the most dazzling books I’ve ever read)
  • Agape Agape, Gaddis (his last)
  • The Rush for Second Place: Essays and Ocassional Writings, Gaddis (rounds out my collection of all of his work)
  • A Devil’s Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science and Love, Richard Dawkins
  • You Bright and Risen Angels, William T. Vollmann (seemed sort of up my alley; I’ve never read this guy before)
  • Quicksilver : Volume One of The Baroque Cycle, Neal Stephenson (I read Cryptnomicon a few years ago and thought it was tolerably decent, so figured I’d try this out.)
  • Mencken Chrestomathy, H.L. Mencken (I’ve been meaning to read more of him for some time, and this collection is a nice sampling of his work on a range of topics.)
  • The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two, James Sears
  • The Great All-American Wooden Toy Book (I’d like to make some toys for Lennie and Zac and Ella.)
  • My First Magic Set (for Zac, whom I’m going to try to teach to do magic tricks if he’s interested)
  • Harper’s Magazine (David Foster Wallace has written a lot for them, and it seems like probably a good magazine, so I thought I’d try out a subscription.)
  • Poetry (Probably the oldest and best-known respected poetry magazine going. My subscription recently ran out and I was too stingy to renew, but this windfall allowed me to go ahead and pick up a two-year subscription.)

Whew, lots of reading to get done. I always love getting new books and never know where to start. I just like holding them, having them all stacked up on the coffee table. When I finally got time last night to look at the books, I had trouble deciding whether to go ahead and dig into the not-so-short stories in Oblivion or to pick up the shorter Gaddis essays or the Mencken collection. And then of course I wanted to go ahead and begin rereading The Broom of the System, which made me want to dive right back into another reading of Infinite Jest, which, with my various commitments and spending time with the baby, etc., will take me about six years to get through this time. Ah, to be independently wealthy.

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