Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Unstoppable Bolaño

I'm bad with books. I buy one and sometimes I read it immediately and other times I put on my shelf to be read later (a day, a week, a month, years later).

It's these other times that have left me with shelves of books, stacked high, to be read. It's unfair that I can't read as fast as I can add a book to the shelf.

I need to be in the mood, which is sounds dumb to write but it's true. Earlier this summer (assuming we still consider it's still the summer), I was in the mood for non-fiction. I read two or three. Then a couple of weeks ago I saw two short Roberto Bolaño novels on my shelf. I write as if they just appeared but I remember buying them. I had read Bolaño before, a few short stories from the New Yorker but none of his books.

I thought I could start by getting through a couple of quick, small ones; the towering behemoths - The Savage Detectives and 2666 - where also on my shelf but I didn't feel like starting one of those.

I began Distant Star and I had trouble stopping. Or I didn't stop. Next I was going to read Amulet but the back cover said it was a sequel or a companion to The Savage Detectives, a thick book I previously had not wished to begin. How things change. I felt it was only fair to Bolaño that I begin with the big one.

I ripped through The Savage Detectives at the same time I felt I was taking my time, savouring it, enjoying it. Sometimes I read too quickly. I read just right this time. I finished Amulet the day after I finished The Savage Detectives. And now I'm on to the last giant of Bolaño's I have on my shelf.

I didn't plan to read four Bolaños over the last few weeks but the author made me do it.


1 comment:

May said...

Same here! I keep buying books that I store on the shelf until I'll have time to read them. Still, it is a real pleasure to choose books from the store so why should I restrain myself?

It looks as if the Chaim Potok's novel that I bought the day before Christmas will come down from the shelf soon...