Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie

This poem, which I read this morning before my writing time, perfectly captures the pleasure of diving into a big book. I'm a fan of big books. I fell in love with my husband because of many reasons, but partly because of Lonesome Dove, I wept (the ugly kind) over Les Miserables, and my idea of God will be altered forevermore by A Prayer for Owen Meany. Of the books I've read this year so far, Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, at 864 pages, is my favorite.

Not sure which big book I'll tackle next, but when I do, I hope it feels something like this:

"Birthday" by Billy Collins 
Before it was over
I took out a pencil and a notepad
and figured out roughly what was left--
a small box of Octobers, a handful of Aprils, 
little time to waste reading a large novel
on the couch every evening
a few candles flaming in the corners of the room.
A fishbowl of Mondays, a row of Fridays-- 
yet I cannot come up with anything
better than to strike a match,
settle in under a light blanket,
and open the first sentence of Clarissa
Look at me setting off on this long journey
through ink and tears,
through secrecy and distress,
anticipation and swordplay. 
As the darkness thickens
and the morning glory puts down the trumpet,
as worms begin to sing in the garden,
and Christ looks down from the wall, 
I will begin inching toward the end--
page one thousand five hundred and thirty-three
in this paperback Penguin edition,
introduction and notes by one Angus Ross.

Your turn: any big books you'd like to recommend?

3 Comments:

Blogger Kern said...

We're a match. Those are my three favorites ever. I loved The Goldfinch as well. My favorite big book this year however was a suggestion from my brother, "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas. I loved every page. (1276) The best prison tale ever.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Charles Gramlich said...

I guess I'm not particularly a fan of big books. I usually think they could have been shorter. Lonesome Dove was good for sure, though. The Grapes of Wrath is another. Does Dune count? Probably my favorite big book

5:58 AM  
Blogger Britta Coleman said...

Dune definitely counts, as does The Count. Two titles I need to add to my list.

The Grapes of Wrath is another excellent title...I finished that book in a hotel room in Santa Fe while my family slept.Cried on the last page and wished someone were awake so I could talk about it. Don't great books do that to you? (The talking part, not necessarily the weeping.)

10:41 AM  

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