Monday, December 26, 2016

December 26: Ordinary Goat Moth, Obsession, Next Book

I have often noticed that these things, which obsess me, neither bother nor impress other people even slightly.  I am horribly apt to approach some innocent at a gathering and, like the ancient mariner, fix him with a wild, glitt'ring eye and say, "Do you know that in the head of the caterpillar of the ordinary goat moth there are two hundred twenty-eight separate muscles?" . . .

I think most writers obsess like Annie Dillard.  Her particular preoccupations are with the natural world and God's workings in it.  She goes for walks around Tinker Creek and finds moments of grace.  That's her thing, at least in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.  I'm sure that she has other obsessions.  Most people do.

My obsession is about to change.  For a full year, I have been writing about Annie Dillard and Pilgrim.  Come January 1, 2017, I need a new book to focus my energies on.  In the past, I have lived for a year with Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  Then there was the year of Charlotte's Web, followed by 365 days of The Catcher in the Rye.  The year 2015 was all about Oscar Hijuelos' Mr. Ives' Christmas.  And now 2017 is almost upon us.

I am contemplating three novels for next year.  I love each of them for different reasons.  Those three books are:

So, those are the choices.  In the past, I have left it up to a popular vote, asking people to weigh in with their opinions.  I will do this again, although I don't usually get a whole lot of responses.  (Count yourself lucky:  one of the books I had been thinking about for 2017 was Cormac McCarthy's The Road, but, after 365 days of that book, I might have been suicidal.)

So, it's up to my disciples.  What will my next obsession be?:
  • The World According to Garp by John Irving
  • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • My Antonia by Willa Cather
All you have to do is leave a comment for me with your opinion this week.  On December 31--this Saturday--I will make my choice.  It's in your hands.  Let's hope this election turns out better than the last one in the United States.

Of course, I am leaning toward one book in particular, but I will not name that book.  I don't want to sway the vote.

Speaking of swaying the vote . . .

Please vote for Saint Marty

Voting for next Poet Laureate of the U. P.


  1. Slaughterhouse five. With that violet light and a hum. So it goes. And, it's the only one of the three books listed that I have read :) (ok, it was read to me, and I should really read it myself . . . )

  2. Slaughterhouse Five. Why? Poo-tee-weet.

    (For realz, I have good memories listening with my teenage son to CD narrated by Ethan Hawke.)