What are you reading?

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What's on the night table? Or perhaps your Kindle/Nook ?


The Other Eighties: A Secret History of America in the Age of Reagan by Bradford Martin
I recently discovered Anne Patchett, so have been plowing though her work, most recently, Taft. Also reading Life, by Keith Richards.
I'm re-reading Richard Ellmann's bio on Oscar Wilde and I am read Murder in The Cathedral by T. S. Eliot. A lot of gloom after reading Sylvia Plath's bio Bitter Fame. What are you reading?
Today reading: the Tiger's Wife and Frank Kermode's The Sense of an Ending.
The Kermode book is a must-read. His "Genesis of Secrecy" is a barn burner as well.
Adding to list. Also: "barn burner" is fantastic way to describe a book.
Norman Mailer's, The Executioner's Song. Stories with a sting, relieve the our own stings, eh?
Love that book. Once, years ago, I was taking a break from reading for grad school orals, and I spent a week reading that, Libra, and Jean Stafford's A Mother in History all in a frenzied Row. I christened a new field: "Loser Studies".
I'm reading a new biography of Evel Knieval, by Leigh Montville. After growing up a kid in America during the 1970s when Evel Knievel was a big deal, I feel like this reading experience is a little like childhood regression hypnosis therapy.
Evil Knievel stands firmly in my glazy, macramaded ,70's earth-toned memories as well... Brian swings off topic by fondly remembering his Evil Knievel motorcycle jump toy with it's whirring crank and ability to terrorize cats.
I'm reading DFW's The Pale King and Agee/Evans Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.
Re-reading The Pound Era by Hugh Kenner
Ablutions by Patrick deWitt, to be followed by The Sisters Brothers. Loved his story in Electric Lit 3 and will interview him in June for TNB.
Just finished Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad and O'Brien's In the Lake of the Woods and now onto Luis Urrea's The Hummingbird's Daughter... but was super impressed by the last two short stories in the New Yorker also
@Art Edwards saw him read at skylight bookstore and was so impressed with him being a 'self taught' writer. His presence was nervous and sweet and loved his reading. My uncle kept his Louis L'Amour westerns with his playboys so I thought they were naughty taboo forbidden things... westerns. Like the idea of a sentimental western.
Did not know that, Melissa. But now that you mention it Patrick's work does have a certain sensibility and loneliness that for some reason suggests self taught to me. I am interviewing Patrick for The Nervous Breakdown and will ask him about it.
Wow! I will add Ablutions to my queue, thanks to the both of you! When will you interview him (or have you already)? I'm curious as to the outcome of your meeting.
If you like Evil Knieval watch Kanye West's I'm Gonna Touch the Sky with Lupe Fiasco on youtube. It's one of Lupe's best moments which launched him into superstardom. Kanye West had to pay Knieval off for using his image and moniker.
Super, I will check that out!
Adding The Pound Era to my reading list...the diffidence that faltered...
Hot damn. I just read a zetetic bedazzler called The Pledge by Friedrich Durrenmatt. It may be old news, but it reads like a brand-new bullet.
Durrenmatt! You know I translated and directed a Durrenmatt play in college. The Visit of the Old Lady. He's a great writer of allegory and parable. It was a play from the 1950s but it worked damn well in the early 90s. Believe it or not, it is also a Sean Penn movie.
Hey, The Visit was one of the highlights of a post-war lit class I took a few years ago! Disturbing but incredibly funny.
I just started a book called MARX. My partner is a Trotskyite (can you believe there are still some left?) and Irish. He snatched it back on his way into London so I didn't get the author's name (I think he's Irish too) simple but extraordinary insights to our current financial mess. "The more things change-- the more they stay the same (Corrinne Bailey Rae)."
Was Corrinne Bailey Rae the Marx biographer? I like that direction for her. Anyhow, that's so cute that you're dating an Irish Trotskyite. Even if he started holding forth sententiously about commodity fetishism or something, you could just focus on his adorable brogue.
This is from Durrenmatt's wikipedia page , proceed with caution, but seems reasonable: In 1990, he gave two famous speeches, one in honour of Václav Havel (Die Schweiz, ein Gefängnis? / Switzerland a Prison?), and the other in honour of Mikhail Gorbachev (Kants Hoffnung / Kant's Hope). Dürrenmatt often compared the three Abrahamic religions and Marxism, which he also saw as a religion.
Thanks for that. I will and I will pass it on to the Trotskyite. I'm sure he'll love it if he hasn't already read it. He reads as much as he eats (not fat but 6'4") and raised on a farm in Kerry.
Ah, Kerrymen. Maybe it was David McWilliams or Fintan O’Toole?
He said they are Dubliners. But did you read O'Toole's brilliant piece in the Irish Times on the Hands and capitalism last weekend? He's great. Too bad the Guardian isn't willing to go out on such limbs.
Oh and the Trotskyite's family hail from Skibereen The Dempsey's and Hourihanes. Heard of the them? You lucky man to live in such a gorgeous part of the world, wild, windy, and westward.
Lucien thank you for your kind offers of help (over on my other conversation regarding the Marianne book). I did not read that Fintan piece but will have a look online for it, he is always thought provoking. While Dempsey is a common enough name throughout Ireland you could not get a more quintessentially Cork name than Hourihane. As a matter of interest I had a look in the 1901 and 1911 censuses for Ireland and almost every instance of the latter was in Co. Cork and the few who were listed elsewhere were born in Co. Cork! There are certainly Hourihanes galore around Skibbereen still, I spoke to one yesterday in fact. I know of only one Dempsey but I could not recommend him. Another story.
Edward P. Jones' brilliant The Known World.
My nightstand books are: The Master and Margarita, Bulgakov and Robert Ryman: Used Paint; the bathtub book is Scented Gardens for the Blind by Janet Frame; the lunch time read at work is Bellefleur by Joyce Carol Oates; the purse book is The External Combustion Engine by Michael Ives.
LOVE The Master and Margarita.
agree, MandM is one of my favs
Is the content of the book per location or is this just the current setting? Would you read Oates in the bathtub? Or place Ives on the nightstand? I can only do 3 books top, else they get all mushed together and characters start appearing in other plotlines, like Kugelmass.
Oates I've read in the bathtub already ;) I grab whatever is next on the to-read pile when I've finished one, sometimes a bathtub book will move up to the nightstand if the next one is more in tune with the bathtub venue, but some do have their specific place. For example, Huck Finn is an excellent bathtub book! Porius by J. C. Powys is a good ole bedtime book for fall and winter nights (that's very specific.) Porius would never fit in my purse. Ives fits in my purse, I've found that reading poetry is perfect for the doctor's office waiting room. I think this is at least my third read of Master and Margarita in bed, it also did time as my purse book and day job lunch book too, and has visited the bathtub, and I discovered it is also a good book to read on a porch swing. (I truly love this book, this is the third translation I've read, Pevear & Volokhonsky.) I do find the Ryman book settles me down to sleep after reading about Woland and his funny business...I often like reading art books before I go to sleep (or I'll just look at the pictures if I'm too sleepy to read.)
Just finished Cunningham's The Hours. Wanted to see how he linked/moved through time from one story to another. I saw the movie first. Is that backwards? Before that I read Obreht's The Tiger's Wife. And before that, I re-read Duras's The Lover. (To remind me how less is better!)
I just started in on The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill - completely not my style of theatre, but it's refreshing at the same time.
Do you read plays alot -straight no chaser? Which ones are more your style?
What Boys Like by Amy Jones and All Souls' Rising by Madison Smartt Bell. Just finished Jessica Grant's witty Come Thou, Tortoise.
The Master and Margarita, yes... That one's never far. Dean Koontz, whatever is newest or, if nothing new is available, a favorite oldie (I reread... yes, geeky, I know). We Always Get Our Sin, a book on Dutch-English mistranslations - living in Curacao, a part of the Netherlands Antilles, this slim volume is absolutely hilarious, and welcome comic relief after a hard day's writing.
Reading The F Word (Granta) and loving The Ojibwe Week by Louise Erdrich. Also, We Have Always Lived in The Castle by Shirley Jackson. And Irma Voth by Miriam Toews. Just finished teaching (and rereading) How Should A Person Be? by Sheila Heti, My Happy Life by Lydia Millet and stories from the collection My Mother She Killed Me My Father He Ate Me (ed. K. Bernheimer) by Kim Addonizio and Kate Bermheimer, as well as a story by Heather Birrell from the collection I Know You Are But What Am I? All of these authors came into the course for a Q&A (course is online, and was a smash this term...well, with those writers...naturally).
I feel as though you've just given me my summer reading list.
Was the class in session when V.S. Naipul made his comments? If so was there any discussion? Someone should start a thread.
Aah Naipaul. What an Uncle Tom or am I allowed to use such words on this site. From what I know of him, he was a cruel, cruel, mean man. Typical of many high-falutin Caribbean writers of his ilk. But that doesn't make for a bad writer of course look at Pound and Celine. However, I don't rate his work. In fact, I think he is overrated. But maybe I am a bit biased.
Between books... Have just finished Nemesis and The Sorrows of Empire, by Chalmers Johnson. Am pausing before fiction, finishing some duty-reads for work, & other loose ends.
Of those of you who read the Tiger's Wife what were your impressions of it as a debut novel? Currently Reading: A History of Love. Intention: to learn better the mixing of time and place and voice in multiple narrations.
Re-reading Still Life With Woodpecker. One of my faves. Always looking for authors like him if there are any suggestions.....
Hi, Frank, at least two reviewers compared my novel Jokerman 8 to Tom Robbins, which was just about the highest praise I could imagine, as his books are pretty hysterical. I also came this close to getting him to blurb the book. I know this posting smacks of self-promotion, but what the heck!