Thursday, February 28, 2008


Books that were never written

Unplanned days off are sometimes a boon, sometimes not. A bit of both, the past few days - Ryan came down with the flu, and Maine experienced its umpteenth snowstorm of the winter (we're approaching all-time record snowfall totals this year and are thoroughly sick of it by now). So I stayed home and made soup and tea and shoveled the driveway and read books while Ryan and the cat napped. Back to it today - the sun is shining weakly and I'm getting caught up on end-of-the-month paperwork. But wait, it's leap year... and I'm thinking that February is so NOT a month that we need an extra day of, around here. Why don't we get an extra day in June instead?

After finishing Montaigne's Essays, I got to wondering if I could read anything else that he'd written. And yes, I find that North Point Press reprinted his Travel Journal in 1983, so I'll track that down, but it looks like that's about it, for more Montaigne. It doesn't seem right somehow. Which got me thinking about books I wish I could read, if only the books had been written... like:

The Collected Letters of Bruce Chatwin. Or collected postcards? And more selections from his journals, while we're at it - there are around 80 (80!!) moleskine journals of his in storage in the Bodleian Library, due to become available to the public in 2010. I understand there's nothing scandalous in there (and that's not what I care about anyway), but would merely like a book of the quotations he collected, lists of the books he read, or some such thing.

More? How about The Collected Letters of Christopher Morley. And the books that Laurie Colwin would have written if she hadn't died too young. Ditto Jack London. How about the poems Frank O'Hara would have written if he hadn't died too young. Or The Diaries of Fairfield Porter (out of all the artists whose work I love, I wish the most that he had kept diaries - his Collected Letters have been published and are very fine, as is his art criticism, but I'd love something more informal - his thoughts about his own painting). Anyone else? The Lost Novels of...?

I could use about a dozen more Jane Austens... and I've always thought that T. S. Eliot could have written some lovely children's fiction.
Yes! And a Jane Austen autobiography/diary...

Yesterday I forgot to mention: more Patrick O'Brian, please.
...Mary Shelley....
I wish Vita Sackville-West had written more travel books. The few she did write were so good -
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