I say I don’t read enough contemporary fiction. Why I say it I don’t know. Didn’t I read enough new books in my 20s and 30s? Didn’t I review for newspapers and little magazines? And haven’t I read the latest John Banville, Ian McEwan, and Connie Willis anyway?
Yes, yes, and yes.
But I was a little dismayed when I looked over my 2010 book journal and discovered I’ve read only 20 new books, a small percentage of the number of books I’ve read. As a chronic book buyer, I used to joke that I supported the industry. But now I’m supporting the publishers’ backlists rather than new writers, which is important but perhaps not enough.
So I decided I would try to read one new book a week (often from the library, I’m afraid, because my budget is slanted toward some other necessities this year). I’m still a woman of my time, despite my addiction to the classics, and it’s important to know what’s out there, good or bad.
SO HERE’S WHAT I’M READING NOW:
I just started Hilary Thayer Hamann’s Anthropology of an American Girl. I’m already enjoying the mood of this delicate, well-written novel, set in the ’70s and ’80s, which follows the narrator Eveline Auerbach, an artist, from her high school years in East Hampton through her early adulthood in Manhattan.
Hamann self-published this novel in 2003 and then sold it to Spiegel & Grau, which published it in May. She ran a design and print company, Vernacular Press, and a gallery in Soho, published 5,000 copies of the beautiful book, sent it to reviewers, and sold out the print run.
She told Publishers Weekly, “By 2007, I was exhausted, overinvested emotionally and financially. That’s when we shut Vernacular, and I sent out the manuscript again.”
What a fascinating story!
I’ll be checking in later with my reflections on this book.