I just got a book in the mail yesterday and two books from the library today so it seems like a good evening to be generally chatty. Not that I ever need an excuse to chat about books!
First, book in the mail. Pitch Dark by Renata Adler is my NYRB Classics subscription book for March and it looks fantastic. “Adler’s follow-up to her prizewinning novel Speedboat, is a book of questions. It is also a book of false starts, red herrings, misunderstandings, and all-too-fleeting revelations.” Affairs, complications, contradictions, Connecticut, New York City, Ireland. I have a feeling I am going to love this one. But first I need to read February’s NYRB book, An Armenian Sketchbook by Vasily Grossman, an account of the two months he spent in Armenia. But before I can read that, I have to finish January’s book, Testing the Current by William McPherson. I am two-thirds of the way done with this wonderful novel which I have been reading slowly not just because it demands to be read slowly but because I have been enjoying it so much. I suspect I will finish it this weekend or early next week.
From the library today I brought home Stet by Diana Athill. It is a memoir about her nearly fifty years working as an editor. During that time she worked with such luminaries as V.S Naipaul, Philip Roth, and Norman Mailer. It is the next Slaves group read. Discussion is set for March 31st and all are welcome to read and join in. There is still time!
The other library book is The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times. It’s about how to deal with economic instability, uncertain weather due to climate change, and other issues from a gardening frame of reference. It looks like she even has information on how to garden if you have health issues. I’m not sure where I learned about this book but it looked interesting enough that I thought I would check it out.
Oh, not that long ago I received in the mail a review copy from Penguin of Marcel Proust: The Collected Poems. I had no idea Proust even wrote poetry! The book is a dual-language edition so the French is on one page and the English translation on the other. I can’t read French so that means nothing to me, but for those who do I am sure it is awesome. I’ve only read a few poems so far and I can say Proust’s poetry is nothing like his prose. It’s not bad, just really different. At least that is my initial assessment. I’ll get back to you after I have read more.
I am also reading another poetry book, this one I started a month or so ago, Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds. The book is about the end of her marriage of 32 years. I didn’t think I would like the book because it is so personal, but so far it is quite good. She recently won the TS Eliot Poetry Prize for the book, making her the first American woman to win the prize. So I shouldn’t be surprised that it is turning out to be a good collection.
I am almost done with The Letters of Horace Walpole, volume one. I hope to finish the volume by tomorrow or Monday. I am enjoying them very much but I am ready to be done with Horace. He is quite the lively correspondent though. The period the letters cover includes the time of the Scottish Jacobite uprising and Walpole’s panic when the rumors of the uprising began to fly is rather amusing. I suppose I would have been worried too but since I have the luxury of history on my side I can laugh and think him silly.
Also on the go is How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics by Katherine Hayles. It is a really fascinating book that needs close attention but so far is well worth it.
I hope to get back to Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector very soon. It got set aside in a flurry of other books. Perhaps I will pick it up this weekend.
My Botany for Gardeners book has temporarily been set aside, but oh, it is excellent!
There are a couple books I know I will be starting soon. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin is the third book in the Song of Ice and Fire series. Season three apparently starts airing later this month and Bookman keeps pestering me to get the book read because he knows I won’t watch the TV show until I have read the book.
I might not get to it until April, but the next book in my science by women project is going to be Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions by Lisa Randall. I’m hoping one of the mysteries she unravels is how I can read more books! Or maybe she will tell me how to contact the various me’s on different timelines in different dimensions who may have read different books and we can somehow do a Vulcan mind meld and share our reading experiences. Wouldn’t that be something?
I could go on chatting all night but Bookman and the cats are asking for some attention. Bookman even made oatmeal raisin cookies to tempt me!