4 sept. 2006

I'm cataloguing my books. I'm not quite sure why. Maybe to fill the dead hours when I am too tired to concentrate on anything significant. The first impression I have is a marked preference for primary sources over secondary or theoretical works. That speaks in my favor, if nothing else does. There is no particular merit in being obsessive or in owning 15 books by Kenneth Koch. It's just a fact about me. I don't have that many novels, plays, or works of criticism. The library is fine for those.

{George Steiner in his Real Presences goes on and on about the perils of the secondary, but what is he but a purveyor of the tertiary and the septenary? What a blowhard. It is hard to believe the same guy wrote After Babel. If vacuous generalities paid the rent... I've been reading this book to fall asleep at night}

I'll have a pretty objective ideas of my obsessions when I'm done. Not that I don't know them anyway, but I'll have a quantitative measure: how many books by that particular author I own. You'll be interested in my top 30, I'm sure.

I am in the habit of reading most everything I own. There are exceptions, books I am sent and don't get around to for a while. So the books I own give some idea of what I have read.

When I read for presses I get free books from the catalogues. I have a lot from Northwestern, some heavy LangPo theory from McCaffery and Andrews that I'm gradually making me way through. I have a lot of U of Chicago P books to, for a similar reason. Some I won't get around to for years, I'm sure. Perloff published some things in her series for Northwestern that are basically junior versions of Perloff. I won't name names here.

I basically leave a trail of books behind me wherever I am. Car, Lawrence KS apartment, St. Louis apartment, office. Julia is the same way!