It’s been awhile since I’ve done a general book chatty post about what I’m reading and what I want to read and today seems like a good day for it. There are only 49 days of 2012 left, if we make it that far, that is. The Mayan Apocalypse is set for December 21st so one never knows, our reading days could be numbered! I choose to be optimistic though because I have a nice long end-of-year string of vacation days I am looking forward to. Reading Binge Fest! It will all start on December 20th and carry on through January 1st and should the Mayan Apocalypse come, the cats, Bookman and I will hole up in our basement library until one of us has eaten all the others. A vegan eating a vegan is vegan, right?
Pay no attention to the “In Progress” list on my sidebar, it is woefully out of date. Read on for the scoop of the craziness that is my real “in progress” report.
I have two books I have finished but they have “due dates” and I am early. Thursday this week will see my thoughts on the second part of Anna Karenina and Saturday begins the Slaves discussion of Crewe Train by Rose Macaulay. I finished Anna K weeks ago so I will have to do some deep mind dredging. The Macaulay I just finished last Friday so that won’t require so very much dredging.
On the active reading pile is Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector by Benjamin Moser. I’m still in Lispector’s childhood/ teenage years, but goodness! Hers is quite the story. She was born en route to Brazil as her Jewish Ukranian family fled from persecution. In Brazil they were very poor but Clarice said she remembers a happy childhood. It is hard to believe and one wants to poke and prod and wonder about suppressed memories, but it is not fair to Lispector to insist she is hiding something when all her life she recalled only happiness as a child. I have her first novel Near to the Wild Heart on hand and would like to pick that up soon.
I am still reading Attack of the Difficult Poems: Essays and Inventions by Charles Bernstein. I am about two-thirds of the way through and the book is bristling with page darts. If it weren’t a library book I would be scrawling all over the pages, I am enjoying it so much. He provides so much food for thought, things to think about I’ve not considered before, and even if I disagree, it is always interesting. The book is taking me longer to read than I thought it would, but some of the essays are long and require full attention to prevent losing the thread of the argument.
I started reading the 10th anniversary edition of Virginia Woolf’s essay On Being Ill. I’ve read the essay before, but a kind person at Paris Press sent me this new edition which also includes an essay, “Notes from Sick Rooms,” by Woolf’s mother Julia Stephen. These I will read slowly in order to savor.
I began a new poetry book too, Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith. She won the Pulitzer this year for this book and with the Mars Rover sending back all kinds of fascinating discoveries it seemed a perfect time to pick this one up. Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed, I have created a Poetry Project tab at the top of the blog. I’ll be reading through all the Pulitzer and Poets Laureate and will index them all on the project page. It’s definitely an ongoing, long-term project.
On my Kindle I am reading two Margaret Atwood books. The first, Positron, is an e-book only serial novel. Episodes one and two have been published and I am anxiously awaiting the next part. Unfortunately, I have no idea when the third part will be coming out. It is a dystopian novel that takes place in an unspecified time following an economic crash. Unemployment is extremely high, the jails are filling up and there seems to be no hope. In steps a private corporation with the idea of using prisons as a new economic model for a planned community. There will be full employment, security, three meals a day. Half the population of the community lives and works in jail for one month and the other half lives and works outside of the jail for one month, then they switch. Everything seems to be going so well, or is it?
The other Atwood book I am reading while I wait for the next part of Positron, is The Handmaid’s Tale. As much as I love Atwood, I have never read this one for some reason. It is very good. But then you have probably already read it and know that.
Once I am done with the Difficult Poems essays I will be getting back to Joanna Russ’s essays, To Write Like a Woman. I also have The Phoenician Women and The Bacchae by Euripides waiting in the wings. And for a bit of a brain workout, I also have, thanks to Litlove’s recommendation, How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Litlove has had quite the influence on my reading choices lately since she was also the one who spurred me on to read A Room With a View. If she weren’t so good at recommending books I’d be worried about her power!
Whew, I think that’s all, as if I needed more! But of course I do! Next week on Thursday is Thanksgiving and I get a four-day weekend. Ah. And then a month later the Reading Binge Fest I mentioned earlier. Plenty of time to read everything and add more!