Random lists: Nilita Vachani

From Nilita Vachani’s Homespun:

In her second year at Frankfurt, Anu did nothing but drink coffee, smoke cigarettes and read books. She read without pause and without discrimination. She maintained an alphabetical list and wrote down the titles of all the books that she had read and in the order that she had read them:

Edward Albee: The Zoo Story
Sherwood Anderson: Kit Brandon
Donald Barthelme: Come Back, Dr Caligari
Saul Bellow: Dangling Man
Pearl Buck: The Good Earth
Truman Capote: Other Voices, Other Rooms
John Cheever: The Wapshot Scandal
Stephen Crane: The Red Badge of Courage
John Dos Passos: The 42nd Parallel
Theodore Dreiser: Sister Carrie
T S Eliot: Murder in the Cathedral
Ralph Ellison: Shadow and Act

She did not discuss what she read with Hans. They had less and less to say to each other these days. She had never enjoyed his friends, not even those who spoke English. All that Comintern talk that had stirred her imagination once now seemed pedantic and predictable. She was reluctant to go out and was no longer displeased when he stayed late at work.

William Faulkner: Absalom, Absalom!
F Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby
Allen Ginsberg: Reality Sandwiches
Zane Grey: Riders of the Purple Sage
Dashiell Hammett: The Thin Man
Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter
Zora Neale Hurston: Their Eyes Were Watching God
Washington Irving: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories
Henry James: The Portrait of a Lady
Jack Kerouac: On The Road
Ring Lardner: The Young Immigrants
Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
Sinclair Lewis: World So Wide

Anu was usually asleep by the time Hans got home. He would swallow the dinner she had left out, packaged beans and rice, or a ham and cheese sandwich. Neither of them was fond of cooking. He fell into bed, careful not to touch her…..

Norman Mailer: Advertisements for Myself
Herman Melville: Billy Budd
Ogden Nash: The Bad Parents’ Garden of Verse
Charles Olson: The Maximus Poems
Sylvia Plath: The Colossus and Other Poems
Mario Puzo: The Dark Arena
Ellery Queen: The Chinese Orange Mystery
Adrienne Rich: The Diamond Cutters and Other Poems
Philip Roth: Goodbye Columbus
J D Salinger: Franny and Zooey
John Steinbeck: Of Mice and Men
Harriet Beecher Stowe: Sam Lawson’s Oldtown Fireside Stories
Allen Tate: Narcissus as Narcissus
Sara Teasdale: Rivers to the Sea
John Updike: Cosmic Gall
Gore Vidal: Julian
Kurt Vonnegut: Cat’s Cradle
Walt Whitman: Leaves of Grass
Tennessee Williams: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
William Carlos Williams: Journey to Love

That was when Anu reached her crisis. She discovered that Amerika Haus did not represent a single author beginning with the letter X. Because of the rules of her own creation, she was powerless to proceed. She held Richard Yates’ Eleven Kinds of Loneliness briefly in her hands, then replaced it determinedly on the shelf.





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