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What I'm reading

I haven't made a list of books for ages. Here's what's piled up around me, all of which I'm reading, more or less:
= The reader over your shoulder: a handbook for writers of English prose, by Robert Graves & Alan Hodge. This is 7 Stories reprint of the cranky, opinionated, brilliant, funny 1943 book. They pull no punches!
= Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. Hey, one of the important characters is named Elinor. It's a fantasy involving books books books.
= Verdict of Twelve, by Raymond Postgate, a classic from the golden age of British crime novels.
= Parade's End, by Ford Madox Ford, for the umpteenth time.
= Alice in Wonderland, for the umpty-umpteenth time.
= A Test of Poetry, by Louis Zukofsky
= Robert Lowell
= Savage Coast, by Muriel Rukeyser, her novel—unpublished till just a couple of years ago—about the Spanish Civil War. My Catalonian friend shrugged askance at Rukeyser's translation of Costa Brava.

Yesterday I saw The Collected Longer Poems of Auden on my shelf. I wasn't looking for it yesterday. Today I am, & it's nowhere to be found. The reason I don't organize my books is I always find treasures when I'm looking for something else. If I knew where everything was, I'd never find what I wasn't looking for. It's the same as the difference between an online encyclopedia & a physical one. I have two of the latter, a 1959 Funk & Wagnalls at home & a 1970s Encyclopedia Britannica at work. Online, you find what you search for. It's quick & to the point. While leafing through for information on the birch, I just might run across the Battle of Boyacá & think how I'll impress my friends in Colombia next year on its 200th anniversary, or see a photo of São Francisco Church & wonder if Elizabeth Bishop admired its baroque sculptured ornament when she lived there all those years. And so I'll go back to the volume of letters between her & Lowell that I'm reading a page or 2 at a time.
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