Monday, May 18, 2009

A Reader's Orgasm

Looking over various publishers' lists of forthcoming titles, I've noticed an overwhelming number of new works by "heavyweight" writers of literary fiction: Margaret Atwood, the late Roberto BolaƱo, A. S. Byatt, E. L. Doctorow, John Irving, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jonathan Lethem, a posthumously translated novel by Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, Lorrie Moore, Joyce Carol Oates*, Richard Powers, Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Richard Russo, Anne Tyler, John Updike (and another one -- even dead, the man is prolific), and William Vollmann.

It's quite a feast, and the only way I can see that I'll be able to satisfy the craving is with heavy doses of amphetamines (or, lacking that, coffee). How can I possibly read all these favorites and still sample new writing by new authors? (Although it would help if I stayed off this damned computer.)

I'm also looking forward to Percival Everett's pre-season appetizer, I Am Not Sidney Poitier, which is coming out next week as a paperback original. Everett is one of the most undeservedly neglected writers in America.

* Granted, a season without a new title (or two) from Joyce Carol Oates would almost certainly herald the Death of Publishing. I see there's already one lined up for early next year.