Of all the books I talked about in May, I only finished three (that isn’t counting any of the books I read in May that I didn’t even mention in the post because I didn’t know I was going to read them!). Three’s not bad, really, but I hope I do better this month. I have a week’s vacation next week so that should help. I am not going anywhere and Bookman only gets about half the time off along with me, but that’s fine. Just having a whole week to garden and read and go do a few fun things will be great. And, oh, do I have a lot of books to choose from! But then when am I ever at a loss for anything to read?
I seem to have quite a bit of nonfiction on the go at the moment. Yes, I am still reading Why this world : a biography of Clarice Lispector, but I have made progress in it! Then there is The crisis of the European mind, 1680-1715 by Paul Hazard that I mentioned earlier this week. And Place and Placelessness by E. C. Relph.
There is also My backyard jungle : the adventures of an urban wildlife lover who turned his yard into habitat and learned to live with it by James Barilla. I thought I had squirrel trouble! This poor man planted a peach and nectarine tree in his garden only to have the squirrels strip the fruit completely off both trees even when the trees were covered in netting. The squirrels eating all my corn seeds and sprouts seems like nothing in comparison. Though I’ve never gotten any hazelnuts off my tree because the squirrels get them all first. I’m not pleased by that but it isn’t quite so bad as not getting any peaches or nectarines especially when you’ve spent months watching them ripen and imagined picking them ripe from the tree, so fat and juicy. There are few things as perfect as a fresh picked peach in my opinion so did I ever feel for the author.
So what is that? Four nonfiction books? To balance them out I’ve got two books of poetry on the go, Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds and The Collected Poems of Edward Thomas. But neither of these are books I sit down with and read for a long period of time. They are, at most, half an hour reads which allows the poems to sink in and rattle around in my brain a bit.
Fiction, fiction is a bit lacking in comparison. Just this afternoon I finished reading New Grub Street by George Gissing. I hope to post on that soon. And that’s all the fiction I’m in the middle of. But don’t worry, I’ve just begun part four of Margaret Atwood’s serial novel, Positron. It’s an ebook only and it is ok so far. As a serial, I don’t think it works all that well. There is too much time in between installments for it to be really satisfying in that way. But it is an interesting experiment nonetheless.
Waiting in the wings is The Archivist by Martha Cooley. It’s about a librarian responsible for taking care of T.S. Eliot letters and a poet who comes looking for them. This seems like it might be great vacation reading next week. That’s the plan for it. And then, I hope to also get to May’s NYRB Classic subscription book, Transit by Anna Seghers. I saw it described somewhere as reminiscent of Kafka. And since Positron won’t take long to read on my Kindle I will have to figure out what book to start on it next. I’m thinking it might be Tristram Shandy, but we’ll see what my mood is in a week or so. When it comes down to it I might completely change my mind and go for something by Hardy instead or even David Copperfield by Dickens. The possibilities are many!