THE SHORTFALL BETWEEN AMBITIOn AND ACCOMPLISHMENT

When I started this blog, I made a promise to myself that I would update it every week. Now almost three months have slipped by since my last post. Admittedly, it's been a busy trimester: I'm been writing two books (the first a follow-up to DEVIL'S HARBOR, the second a commissioned biography), both under looming deadlines; in July, we moved house; and in October, my wife gave birth to our second child, Gabriel. All of which are blessings, but with so many blessings, who has time to blog?

This is what I told myself last night at 3am, while feeding the baby and fretting (3am is my favourite time to fret). Then I glanced over at my bedside table and saw the pile of books there, neglected. I figured out that if I sort of cradled the baby in the crook of my arm, and then contorted my hand around to hold the bottle in his mouth, I could, with my free hand, both hold a book and turn its pages without too much hassle. 

Nick Hornby used to write a column for The Believer in which he listed all the books he'd bought that month, and then reviewed the ones he'd actually read, giving the reader a candid account of the gap between his reading ambition and his reading accomplishment. 

I've decided to do the same thing here, even though my own shortfall is surely much greater than Nick Hornby's. Anyway, below, listed as they're stacked, are the 14 books on my bedside table right now:

 

THE DEAD STUDENT - John Katzenbach
THE COLUMBUS AFFAIR - Steve Berry
400 THINGS COPS KNOW - Adam Plantinga
TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST - Richard Dana
THE BURNING LIBRARY - Geordie Williamson
LE COMPTE DE MONTE CRISTO, VOLUMES 3 & 4 - Alexandre Dumas
THE WRITER'S PORTABLE MENTOR - Priscilla Long
THE PAGODA TREE - Claire Scobie
MAIGRET LOSES HIS TEMPER - Simenon
MARIN DE MÉTIER, PILOTE DE FORTUNE - Capitaine de Vaisseau Jubelin
CONNIE SWEETHEART - Valerie Lawson
SOUMISSION - Michel Houellebecq
25 FABLES DE JEAN DE LA FONTAINE - Christopher Carsten (translator)

 

 Each week, I'll update you on what I've read, added or removed from the pile, and why. Comments welcome!