Tuesday, April 30, 2013

If you’re reading to find friends, you’re in deep trouble. We read to find life, in all its possibilities.

--Claire Messud, talking about anger, the books she loves, and oh, yeah, her latest, The Woman Upstairs.

My copy arrived this afternoon. Can't wait to start.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Paltry reading

This is sad. The entire first quarter was sad and the sluggish reading pace continues. Unless things change I'll probably finish out 2013 having completed fewer books than at any time since 1994.

I think I'm going to have to rethink all social reading commitments until I get a handle on the other obligations that have to take precedent--I'm still back at the Jean Rhys section in Stet and I never even started Doctor Glas for the Slaves back in January. And I think I'm going to need to restrict my reading to books that wholly engage my attention or else I won't get through them at all.

Anyway.

The last few weeks' meager few finishes:

Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked. James Lasdun. I had a one-night stand on the Double Dog Dare with this one and I do not feel guilty; if I'd known about it beforehand, I would have caveated it in, for reasons I won't go into. I take issue with Lasdun's insistence that Nasreen must be sane so that he can have a "morally engaging antagonist" for "interesting," "literary purposes," but otherwise, I have great sympathy for him for what she's put him through.

The Waterworks. E.L. Doctorow. I read somewhere that this was a tribute to Poe. I enjoyed it more for the period details and was perplexed by the narrator's overuse of ellipses. I don't believe this was a newspaper convention of the time and C. assures me that Poe wasn't overly fond of ellipses either, so I don't know what effect Doctorow was going for here. Read this if you want something literary for Carl's RIP Challenge.

The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life. Ann Patchett. This was a Kindle single, really more of an essay than a book.

Good-bye to All That. Robert Graves. Dare I attempt The White Goddess now? Er, not anytime soon.

The Imperfectionists. Tom Rachman. For book club. I was the only one who truly enjoyed it, I'm sorry to say. Crazy sad newspaper people amuse me.

The Burgess Boys. Elizabeth Strout.Although I can find where Anne Tyler has recommended Elizabeth Strout, I cannot find confirmation that Strout has ever mentioned reading Tyler. Nevertheless, to me The Burgess Boys reads as if Strout has internalized all the Anne Tyler novels over the years. Spotting these influences, or intentional nods, as I went through this made me deliriously happy. I realize this book isn't working as well for the very people who originally turned me on to Strout back when Amy and Isabelle first came out (i.e., the old Readerville crowd), but I really loved this book.