books of laughter and forgetting

In two months from now, I have to move house again. For the 5th time since arriving in Australia and for the 22nd time since I was born (which includes moving countries 8 times, due to all the back and forth). And then at some point in the next 6 months, I’m taking off back to France for an extended holiday/sabbatical.

So as it’s too hot to go outside and exercise, today I did this for me: attacked the bookshelves. I’ve separated the books and DVDs I want to keep from the “sell/charity” pile. But I’m on the fence about a few of the “keeps”: mostly the French ones (because it’s hard enough to find books in French here in Australia) and the Rosemary Sutcliff ones (because it’s hard enough to find them just about anywhere). Then there are a few which were gifts but I don’t plan to re-read; others which are particularly nice editions but not of any huge value; others still which aren’t difficult to find but which I bonded with when reading them and hate to let go.

The rest is a huge pile of chaff which I don’t have much difficulty in abandoning, beyond the fact that I hoard books as I hoard clothes… In sorting through them I discovered a few I hadn’t read, and which I’m making my mission to read by the time I move out!

Nineteen eighty-four by George Orwell (cannot believe I still haven’t read that at 27…)
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (got halfway through it before getting distracted by Vita Sackville-West’s blatant plagiarism of Tolstoy’s plot in Family History!)
Reborn — Susan Sontag’s early diaries (started it in November 2009 and then went through a traumatic break-up with F, got back together, Mummy came over to Aus for a holiday, I went to Hong Kong, had surgery, broke up again with F, by which point I had completely forgotten about this book)
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera (pretty sure I read this 10 years ago in French but I will give it another go)
The Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov (the genius behind my beloved The Master and Margarita which nobody else ever reads despite my constant nagging)
Death Kit by Susan Sontag
Collected Stories by Beverley Farmer (I think I have read this but want to check as short stories are da bomb)
Murder and Science by Roger Wilkes (the trashy kind of book Mummy and I love… in fact I wonder if Mummy bought it?)

There were a few other unfinished volumes — but let’s face it, they’re never getting read. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls? The introduction — which I did read — was probably the most instructive part of it. A 20th Century History of Russia? A throw-back from my obsession with the Russian ballets, which also involved Russian for Dummies, and not one but TWO biographies of Nijinksy (I read both, because one was written by his beard/wife and was exciting but bordering on fictional). I am a Strange Loop will have to remain forever half-read, as my obsession with fractals spiralled into something bordering on insanity and it was doing my head in.


5 thoughts on “books of laughter and forgetting

  1. Oh Anna Karenina – I love that book!! I moved 13 times in 14 years…feels strange to not be packing up at the end of my second year in the Shoebox, but nice also. xx

  2. Oh yes, Murder and Science was one I found when I was there but had finished and so didn’t take home…and now I can’t even remember it.

  3. Pingback: back to mine « today I did this for me

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