My short story reading is going well, but every time I look over at yonder mountain of novels I just picture this or someone eating it super badly on a treadmill.
Let’s do this real fast-like.
Life After Life: I love that this book was willing to play with a conceit that could have been gimmicky. I was telling someone recently that probably my favorite feeling when I’m reading is the thrill I get from reading along as a great writer tries something risky that probably shouldn’t work, and then it does.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay: Honestly, I thought I would like this more. Beautiful sentences, loved the sense of adventure, but the journalistic tone that carries us from one scene to the next kept popping me out of the story. Michael Chabon is a genius though, so I probably just have bad taste.
Crazy Rich Asians: This would have been great if it hadn’t been a story about the two most boring, oblivious characters in the woooooorld. The whole world. I would have read the HELL out of a book about only the “bad” characters.
Mrs. Dalloway: Can you believe I waited this long to read Woolf? What is even wrong with me?
The Life of St. Teresa of Avila by Herself: Haha, she cray. No, I mean, I found this really interesting and it gave me so many cool ideas to write about, but still…she cray.
Brother, I’m Dying: A wonderful, affecting memoir.
Song of the Lark: Wonderful; speaks to the experience of being a woman artist in ways that are relevant even now.
Tristes Tropiques: I thought this was so fascinating, especially his explanations of the belief systems of several of the tribes he visits. There was a Sebaldian melancholy here that I liked a lot, a mixture of longing and revulsion when it comes to the past that I think springs from his awareness of his position as a white man, a part (however personally innocuous he might be) of the forces of colonialism and globalization that have destroyed the cultures he studies.
Come See the Mountain: A great, short piece on the Potosi mine, not unrelated to the above.
Bad Feminist: I love Roxane Gay, even when I don’t 100% agree with her about every last thing. Also, her twitter is great. There is never a fool too small for her to spend a sentence on, and I for one appreciate her willingness to engage with the hoi polloi.
La Celestina: I finished this! I FEEL GREAT. Also, this reminded me of the tendency we (I?) have to think about civilizations as always moving in the direction of liberalism, when the truth is that impression is only the result of a myopia that ignores a lot of history and also ISIS.