Some Books I Plan to Read in 2013

by Edwin Turner

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There are only a handful of forthcoming titles that I know about right now that I’m looking forward to reading next year: story collections from Sam Lipsyte (The Fun Parts) and George Saunders (Tenth of December), and a new novel from William Gass called Middle C. I’m also hoping Keith Ridgway’s Hawthorn and Child will finally get a US release, because I’d like to read it too.

There are a few newish books that I didn’t read in 2012 that I’ll try to catch up to this year—Ben Marcus’s The Flame Alphabet, László Krasznahorkai’s Satantango, and Laurent Binet’s HHhH.

I do not currently possess any of these books.

I also look forward to reading Evan Lavender-Smith’s From Old Notebooks, back in print again from Dzanc (who I am sure will get the copy I ordered to me any day now).

At the top of my list though are the books I’m currently reading: Alvaro Mutis’s Maqroll novellas and Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds.

Stuff I’ve been saying I’ll read for a few years now that I hope to get to:

Cortazar’s Hopscotch, John Williams’s Butcher’s Crossing, Gombrowicz’s Ferdydurke, and, at the top of the heap, Georges Perec’s Life A User’s Manual.

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I have a few books by Thomas Bernhard that I’ll probably get into this year (when I feel called to a misanthropic monologue), and I’ll gobble up anything else by Barry Hannah that I can get my mitts on. I read William Gaddis’s “big books” last year, but I still haven’t read A Frolic of His Own, which I’ve heard is superior to Carpenter’s Gothic.

I’ll reread Moby-Dick this year (or at least listen to William Hootkins’s brilliant audio version) and I’ll probably end up rereading some book that I hadn’t planned to at all (this happened with 2666 and The Savage Detectives this year—who knows? I haven’t read Gravity’s Rainbow since college, and I haven’t reread Infinite Jest in full, and I’d love to go through Suttree again . . . ).

I dipped my toe into Finnegans Wake this year—I’ve found reading it on the Kindle late at night and then going through Joseph Campbell’s Skeleton Key the next morning is rewarding—and I’ll probably keep at it in 2013. Maybe I’ll make it to chapter 3.

But enough of my rambling—What books do you, dear reader, look forward to in 2013?

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19 Comments to “Some Books I Plan to Read in 2013”

  1. Are you aware that David Bellos revised his translation of Life A User’s Manual (and added a good 50 pages)? It was published in 2008: http://www.amazon.com/Life-Users-Manual-Georges-Perec/dp/1567923739/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356716120&sr=8-1&keywords=life+a+user%27s+manual

    • Yeesh. Did not know. Maybe I can find this one at the used book store. Or order it, I guess. Thanks.

      UPDATE: Check out the comment of David Bellos, Perec’s English translator, below—he clarifies that there are minimal differences between the two versions of LIFE A USER’S MANUAL. (And yes, it’s him).

    • No, I did not add fifty pages! Please delete that misinformation from your blog as it will get around and become another myth. I just restored a couple of paragraphs that mistakenly got left out of the first edition, and made a host of other small corrections (typos, slips, index updates, that kind of thing).The 2009 Godine ed is the best version of the tex that exists, but it differs from the first edition by only a fraction of one per cent.OK?

  2. Nice freakin’ stack. Going to have to write up on these as you go.

  3. I stand (happily) corrected! Sorry and thanks!

  4. I actually just started Witold Gobrowicz’s Ferdydurke, and what a bizarre beast it is! I love the cover illustration by Bruno Schulz. Speaking of Schulz – have you read any of his work? Great stuff…

    On the docket:

    1. Moby Dick
    2. Wittgenstein’s Mistress
    3. Any Lispector other than Agua Viva, which I read this past year.
    4. Infinite Jest (it’s about time I finished the damn thing…)
    5. Dune (same as above)
    6. A High Wind in Jamaica

    P.S. This blog is fantastic! Cheers :)

    • I’ve never read A High Wind in Jamaica, but I have it somewhere. I also have Schulz’s Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass somewhere too, but haven’t read it. Good luck with the reading—great list.

  5. I’m currently reading Thomas Bernhard’s Extinction, which, at 326 pages, is the longest Bernhard novel I’ve read to date (four, including this one.) He is a rewarding, if incredibly exhausting read. There are just three other books in my current to-read pile, all of which I’ll get to in the new year: Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman (I’ve previously read and liked quite a bit At Swim-Two-Birds), David Ohle’s Motorman, and Oakley Hall’s Warlock. That last one is available through the NYRB imprint, a publishing house–alongside the Dalkey Archive–I’m willing to read just about anything from.

    As for new stuff coming next year, I’m absolutely with you on the Gass.

    • Bernhard is exhausting for sure. I think The Third Policeman *may* be the best book I read this year. I don’t know Oakley Hall but the used bookstore I frequent has a bunch of his books—I’ll take a look. They also have a used (but never read) copy of Josh Cohen’s novel Witz which is a Dalkey title, but I can’t bring myself to pick up because it’s so damn long.

      • I’ve read Witz, and, save for the Molly Bloom-aping monologue at the end, I thought it was terrific. I’m glad I read the book when I did, as I’ve since read a handful of Cohen’s reviews/essays for various publications and he comes off as an insufferable ass. Had I read those first, I’d have been turned off from ever giving his fiction a fair shake.

        • So Witz is worth it? It’s on my shelf untouched, and I just can’t seem to pick it up. Both his review in the NYTBR and the interview published on the Dalkey site make me not want to read it. Perhaps I will endeavor to get into it next year.

  6. I’m looking forward to far too many books next year, especially considering that I have a full literature course load, one unit of which involves an intensive study of Joyce’s Ulysses. I desperately want to read Hopscotch, 2666, Heartsnatcher, Exercises in Style, Imaginative Qualities of Ordinary Things, (Roubaud’s) The Great Fire of London, and (at long last) The Brothers Karamazov. Currently reading (but unsure if I am enjoying) John Barth’s Giles Goat-Boy.

    • Have fun with Ulysses—I hope reading it in school doesn’t spoil it for you! (I was lucky to have a fantastic instructor with whom I read it; he’d studied with Hugh Kenner and knew the book inside out, but he also made it fun).

      I haven’t read Giles Goat-Boy but I’ve slogged it out through The Sot-Weed Factor, which was miserable, miserable stuff—like Barth keeps winking through his 17th c. prose to smirk about how funny his fart jokes are.

  7. Ridgway’s Hawthorn & Child will be published in the US by New Directions in fall 2013.

  8. Very impressed you managed to get Bellos to post here.

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