Monday, December 3, 2007

collector of books

I was fifteen years old when I saw Joyce Carol Oates read; she came to my summer camp (an academic one), and read to an auditorium full of precocious teenagers. Hearing her read the title story from Collector of Hearts sparked a full-blown obsession with her work. I had read "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" in classes before, and knew in a sort of offhand way that I liked her work, but the reading started me on the inevitably strange and wonderful journey of reading every single one of her books that I could get my hands on.

Though I am a completist, it soon became clear that I couldn't read them all, not least because I lived in a small town in Maine, and couldn't physically get them all. Even now, though, with Powell's just a few blocks away, I can't read them all. It's not that she has written too many books (what would that even mean?), just that there are so many books in the world and there is never enough time to read.