The Unread Book Project: Finding the Poetry

Reading in Bed

After a week of cold and snow and shoveling, my lover and I steal 24 hours for ourselves, and don’t get out of bed until Sunday afternoon. With a kiss on the forehead, he leaves me at 2:00 sitting under a pile of blankets at page 19 of James Agee’s A Death in the Family.

It’s an old copy of the book, from the 1970s; a 4×7 paperback, with dense text fit tight to the yellowing pages. Great sections of the book are printed in italics—published after Agee’s death in 1955, they are used to note his unedited material. Three hundred and eighteen pages total, reading to 19 has been daunting.

“It is, in the full sense,” wrote The New Republic in 1958, “poetry.” Still, the reading of this book feels as unending as this winter. I am unpracticed and impatient. But that is why we are here, this project of unread books: sit down, sit still, read.

Perhaps it is the tone of the weekend. By page 38, I am in love for the second time in two days. And I keep reading…

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Excerpt from A Death in the Family by James Agee. Click here to purchase a copy.

Related Posts:
The Unread Book Project
The Unread Book Project: It Took 20 Inches of Snow
The Unread Book Project: Things Fall Apart

Photo from the movie Amelie, found on art + food.

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4 thoughts on “The Unread Book Project: Finding the Poetry

Add yours

  1. my my – romance, coffee, breakfast and audrey tatou (sp?) reading in the bedroom of my dreams – what great colors and what interesting banter and thought processes – i’m glad you’re reading this book, jen! thanks for sharing it and doing a great job of “sit down, sit still and read.” (almost) two down, 298 to go!

    1. I know – isn’t that bedroom divine? A perfect place to be on a winter day, like the ones we had last week and are about to have again soon! Add romance, coffee, books…don’t forget the cats…and it’s heaven!

  2. Love the excerpt. I want to read the book now. Ah, the romance and the bedroom…perfect for another snowy day….

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