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
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 . . .
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