Sunday, December 29, 2013

Skiffs on the Endless River, a Convoy of Joy

Skimming dozens and dozens of "year's best" lists, I once again come to the three-parts delighted, one-part melancholy conclusion that my time will run out long before I can possibly read even a small number of all the books on my "to be read" list.  Oceans of books, fathomless pools of words, serpentines of sentences...and me there, the humble lobster, dabbling, clutching and slowly clambering as best I can in the shallows.  The canary can only sigh...

Any sense that literary culture is declining dashes itself on the sheer volume of publication.  The tidal river accommodates every taste, form and subject   Even assuming Sturgeon's Law holds true, the vastness of global literary output assures us of more high-quality, worthy books published in any one year than any one of us could possibly read in that one year.  And then the next year is upon us...and what about all those acknowledged classics still unread...?

A marvelous situation as we cozy up to whatever we are reading right now, our eyes already looking ahead to the book to follow immediately and the ones stacked up beyond.

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