So you guys know I’m moving to England, right? It’s true––beginning early May, Itinerant Daughter will be… well, really fucking itinerant for a quite a while. Oh, backing up: that’s because I’m traveling a bit before moving, to, among other places, Charleston, Ohio, Los Angeles, Rhode Island, Italy, and then the big move happens in mid-August. So I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do with my books––not surprisingly, I have about four thousand of them––and am wondering if now is the time to make good on that idea I had, which was to bar myself from buying new books until I had read all the ones in my library I haven’t read. I probably won’t make good on this idea because whenever I think about it, I immediately frown and consider all the books that I have that I legit don’t want to read (my fiance’s legal books––do my fiance’s books count?––as well as The Flamethrowers, because my interest just waned over time, Clarice Lispector’s An Apple in the Dark, Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God is Within You, Henry James’s Daisy Miller, My Lunches With Orson and countless reference texts––do those count?) as well as those I should want to read but don’t (The Magus by John Fowles, Last Last Chance by Fiona Maazel, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, Rosie Schaap’s Drinking With Men, Anthropology of an American Girl, which I almost immediately regretted buying as if I foresaw this very issue.) Then I think about all the books I’ve read pieces of––select essays in an anthology, maybe, or a few stories by Vladimir Nabokov and Kafka out of their collections, and very occasionally books I began but didn’t warm to, like John Gregory Dunne’s Vegas––and whether I would have to read the entire text over again or parse out which sections I had read and which ones I hadn’t. And then finally, I consider the fact that this would probably take me any number of days and result in a piece that I could sell only to The Paris Review and be paid $200 for, which if you calculated it out would mean I had made something like ten cents an hour. So I guess I’ve decided not to do it.
If I had time (which I don’t, because I’m actually making headway on some books so GOSH leave me alone) I’d write an essay called “The Fascinating Religious Themes in the Bruce Jenner Interview.” Did anyone else notice how many times they used the word “soul?”