13 April 2010

Truth or Fiction?

In Tom Stoppard's play The Real Thing, the main character amuses us by creating a list of the ten books he would like to take with him if abandoned on a desert island. It is a fictional list on many levels, for Stoppard's Henry doesn't care two straws about any of the books; he is concerned only with the public image his choices create for him.

Possibly in that same spirit, the following is a list of the 12 books you may find in close proximity to my bedside table, waiting for me to read. I leave it to you, gentle reader, to discern how truthful I am being:

  • From the Inside Out: Letters to Young Men and Other Writings; Poetry and Prose from Prison. New York: Student Press Initiative, 2009.
  • False Mermaid by Erin Hart. New York: Scribner, 2010.
  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008.
  • The Linden and the Oak by Mark Wansa. Toronto: World Academy of Rusyn Culture, 2009.
  • Sneeze on Sunday by Andre Norton and Grace Allen Hogarth. New York: Tor, 1992.
  • Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. New York: HarperCollins, 2010.
  • The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes. New York: Pantheon Books, 2008.
  • The Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope, Kindle edition. [Seattle:] Public Domain Books, Amazon Digital Services, 2006. On my iPod Touch.
  • The Publishing Game: Bestseller in 30 Days by Fern Reiss. Boston: Peanut Butter and Jelly Press, 2003.
  • Design-it-yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified by Cal Patch. New York: Potter Craft, 2009.
  • The Choir by Joanna Trollope. New York: Random House, 1988.
  • The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers. Orlando, Austin, and New York: Harvest Book/Harcourt, 1962, 1934.

I am not going to tell you which of these books I am actually reading, since that would (assuming this list is The Real Thing) reveal much more about myself than I'd like.

Mind you, all this is coming from someone whose first widely published work was a letter to Ann Landers printed in the fall of 1976, the first words of which were (I recite from memory): "This letter might make you think that the Yale boys are at it again, but I swear that every word is absolutely true." Which it was not. (At the time, Yale undergraduates were a known source of agony-aunt fiction.) To quote the immortal Mary McCarthy, every word was a lie, including "and" and "the." But I can't tell you how thrilling it was to see my tale of the bawdy parakeet there in the pages of the Minneapolis Tribune, and know that it was being read all over the country.

An April spring has come to Minnesota. Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment