Jump to content

Currently Reading...

Recommended Posts

10 hours ago, joethefoodie said:

Or across the street from what is now going to be the new home of Disney NYC. City Winery opened their new place on the Hudson.

Really?  See, you can tell I've been out of NYC for a while.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 5.7k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Just finished Ask the Dust by John Fante, a slim novel which didn't live up to the extravagant praise I've heard from Bukowski fans. Henry Miller and Hubert Selby did this kind of thing much better.

I'm currently reading Middlesex, has anyone else read it? I remember it being discussed elsewhere and people were criticizing the fact that it won the pulitzer prize. Maybe not Pulitzer Prize worthy

Several of the pieces in Paris to the Moon appeared earlier as Gopnik's monthly Letters from Paris to The New Yorker. His use of adjectives to describe the weather, the neighborhood, etc impressed me

Posted Images

Another big recommendation, Xiaolu Guo, a Chinese writer (and film-maker) who moved to London in her twenties, and wrote her second and subsequent novels in English. I started with that second novel, written when English as a language was fairly new to Guo: A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers.

It's one of the funniest books, especially in the first half, I've read in a long time. Sadness comes as the story develops. It's written as the diary of a very young Chinese woman arriving in London to improve her English. The "broken" English in which she writes is a major source of the humor, and at one point the name Hyman Kaplan came to mind for the first time in years. Was I laughing at her funny English. No, because through the fog of her words we find her mocking and skewering many aspects of the English language, English manners, English behavior.

I'm now reading 2020's A Lover's Discourse. The set-up is very similar to the other novel, but this narrator is older and more worldly, and the humor more subdued.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tyll, by Daniel Kehlmann. First time reading a novel in i don’t know how long. First time reading a novel this long in German as well.  

The book is reminding me a little of Master and Margarita, if that makes sense(?)

Link to post
Share on other sites

End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck (in English translation, yes). Her most ambitious work of fiction so far. And it is difficult. Fifty pages in, I had to go back and look through them again.

Difficulty 1: she doesn't name the characters.

Difficulty 2: there are jumps in space and time.

Difficulty 3: just because a character dies, doesn't mean they're dead.*

The last part is kind of central to a narrative which explores the different ends to which lives might lead. The story moves from pogroms to Nazism, but the uncomfortable questions it raises are universal. Worth the work.

*Anyone who has seen Russian Doll will be reminded it of it here, but this is not a comedy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

End of Days tears your heart out. Erpenbeck will be better known here eventually.

Also Lectures on Dostoevsky by Robert Frank, guy from the Lower East Side who is known for his five volume critical biography of old Fyodor.

The lectures, given in his retirement, are deceptively simple, conversational in style, have a very strong and clear viewpoint, and you have to remember that he just knows everything about the subject. 


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another huge recommendation (with one qualification), Michael Gorra's The Saddest Words.

This is a deep analysis of William Faulkner's complex relationship to the South, slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction and its failure. Close readings of the key novels and stories, as you might expect, but he also brings to it a ton of history reading, plus a reading of popular fiction in the period after the war (from both sides) and even school textbooks from the period between the end of the war and Faulkner's childhood.

This weight of learning could be tedious, but Gorra addresses the reader very directly -- and also visits key scenes, from the town which Faulkner calls Jefferson in the books to the field at Gettysburg. The last two chapters, especially, where Gorra sets out his own view forthrightly, are remarkably moving for a literary study.

Qualification: This isn't a biography, it really is a critical study and I think anyone who hasn't read at least some of Faulkner's major works will be perplexed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...