Reading: Three Books I'm Reading Now

I'm that person who reads way too many books at the same time. My "Currently Reading" pile is huge, so I'm focusing on reading three books from it this week and next week. Here's my list to read now:

1. Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures by Mary Ruefle

A favorite excerpt:

You ask your teachers, "When will it end? When will it begin?" You mean perhaps your writing life, some phase of it? You are in it. It began when you picked up a very thick pencil and learned to write your name on the widely riled newsprint. It is a dot both of and in empty wasted time, and it can be compared to all the time that extends backward before your birth and forward after your death. In other words, your poems speak out of your wasted time the way your life speaks out of the wasted time of your nonlife, the time that surrounds your life span. One day you think like the microbiologist Carl Woese, who uses this metaphor when speaking of the difficulties in distinguishing between microbes: "Imagine going out into the countryside and not being able to tell a snake from a cow from a mouse from a blade of grass. That was the level of our ignorance." Another day you think like Blake or Whitman and say: "Imagine going out into the countryside and not being able to tell a snake from a cow from a mouse from a blad of grass. That was the level of our wisdom."

2. They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib

A favorite excerpt:

After Katrina, when I came back to the city for the first time in a couple of years, there were bodies floating on the water. People were searching for their loved ones. After a couple more days, caskets, unearthed by the flood's ferocity, began floating  through the streets. It was haunting, the unburied floating next to the once-buried, both home and far from home, all at once. On my last day there, a man on some higher ground took out his horn and began to play while a few caskets, some turned sideways and empty, floated below us. A few people, weary and sad, started to clap slowly along, on beat. We make our own music to celebrate our dead where we must.

3. A Writer's Diary: Being Extracts From the Diary of Virginia Woolf

A favorite excerpt:

Have I the power of conveying the true reality? Or do I write essays about myself? Answer these questions as I may, in the uncomplimentary sense, and still there remains this excitement. To get to the bones, now I'm writing fiction again I feel my force glow straight from me at its fullest. After a dose of criticism I feel that I'm writing sideways, using only an angle of my mind. This is justification; for free use of the faculties means happiness. I'm better company, more of a human being.

I will not start any new books until I've finished these books. I will not start any new books until I've finished these books. I will not start any new books...

What books are you reading now?