Autumn in New York

Autumn has always been my favorite season in New York. It’s almost always sunny, it rarely rains, the skies are clear, and the temperature is perfect for being outside.

There are books I read in the Autumn that I associate with Autumn in a way I don’t associate books I read in the Summer, Winter, or Spring with any of those seasons. One in particular is Nausea, by Jean-Paul Sartre. The first time I read it was 1985. I read it again the next year. Not because it was Autumn; I just wanted to read it again. The next year, however, I read it again because it was Autumn, and reading Nausea had become my Autumn thing-to-do. (This turned out to be the last time I read it.)

These days, I barely even notice that it’s Autumn. The days get cooler, I notice the leaves on the ground, and their smell in the air, but there’s nothing special about it any more. Suddenly it will be late November and I’ll realize it’s already passed. December is Christmas-season in New York, and so no longer Autumn. It’s been this way for years. I don’t re-read Nausea. I don’t really read at all.

A while ago, I started a collection of essays by Stephen Jay Gould, called Bully for Brontosaurus. The thing about essays is that once you finish one you can put the book down and not return to it for months. Years. Like Up In the Old Hotel, which I still haven’t finished.

Here are some books I would like to read, now that October is already half-way over: Ulysses, by James Joyce; Swann’s Way, by Marcel Proust; Journey to the End of the Night, by Louis-Ferdinand Céline; The Odyssey, by Homer; and The Unnameable, by Samuel Beckett. I read Beckett’s Molloy and Malone Dies (which I liked in that order), so I feel as if I should finally read The Unnameable, especially since I have all three books in a single volume.

That is all.


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