Summer conquests

Presenting my reading list of this summer, what I’ve read, re-read and started to read but didn’t finish…

My selection process is kind of simple.. attraction, or recommendations, or selected by someone I know, or – if at a store or library – I open the book and I read a sentence, just any sentence. If it’s not interesting, captivating – encouraging – in some way, clever, well written, harsh, playful, new, enigmatic, open, terrific, old in a new way –  bye book.

I’m always trying to slow my reading down.. it’s like eating too fast. Average books, about 350 pages – an hour, an evening, two. Usually novels – fiction, nonfiction, biography. Sometimes a book will last a week, or two, and that’s nice. I’ll try to read (only) a chapter at a time, to imagine, process and absorb. Details, levels, undertones, invisible constructions, pauses, mirrors, double entendres, absence. Play. Hints, references, paraphrases, shadowplay. It’s magic, or reflections.

The list:

Summer of 2014 – my reading list ( June, July – 1st week of Aug.)

‘New’ reads

  • The Red Couch – Michèle Lesbre
  • Brother and Sister – Simona Vinci
  • An Untamed State – Roxanne Gay
  • Palace Walk/Between the Two Palaces – Naguib Mahfouz
  • Boy, Snow, Bird – Helen Oyeyemi
  • A Home at the End of the World – Michael Cunningham *
  • Mudbound – Hillary Jordan
  • Museums and Women – John Updike *
  • The Village Priest – Honoré de Balzac
  • Courrier Sud – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • Invisible Cities – Italo Calvino
  • Novelle rusticane (Sicily) – Giovanni Verga
  • Teach Us to Outgrow our Madness – Kenzaburo Ōe
  • Still Waters – Jennifer Lauck (I loved Blackbird – these two sequels – nice, but too polished)
  • Show Me the Way – Jennifer Lauck *
  • From the Fifteenth District – Mavis Gallant
  • (The Unusual – Åke Mokvistphoto)
  • Baboon – Naja Marie Aidt
  • Early Prose – Hagar Olsson
  • Dear Alice – Sven Delblanc (letters)

Re-read books

  • A Hundred And One Days: A Baghdad Journal – Asne Seierstad
  • Saturday – Ian McEwan
  • Blue Nights – Joan Didion
  • To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee *
  • The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury *
  • Absalom, Absalom – Faulkner
  • How to Cure a Fanatic – Amos Oz
  • Destroy, She Said – Marguerite Duras
  • The Trembling of a Leaf – W. Somerset Maugham

Started but never finished

  • Unholy Loves – Joyce Carol Oates
  • Works of Love – Kierkegaard
  • Either/Or – Kierkegaard
  • Jennifer Egan – A Visit from the Goon Squad (I know! I haven’t read it …. blushing)

Oh, and some links  ARTFL – french authors – women

Project Gutenberg – Free ebooks

Thesis on H. Olsson – Constructing the cult of new humanity in expressionism
– the case of Hagar Olsson

 

PS. I know I forgot a few titles…I’ll update, once my brain reboots…

PS II. No, I haven’t been bedridden  –  (go check my Insta)

PS III. (update – 24 hours later) I forgot Sorrow of an American – Siri Hustvedt, and The Innocent –  Ian McEwan – both re-reads.

PS IIII. I just realized this list is pretty useless unless I actually talk about the books. I’ll get to that. Maybe just a wrap-up or a quick comment on each title. I’d love it if anyone reading this (hellooo…are you out there…? I only have like 3 followers… this far..) would chime in, if you’ve read and found something interesting in any of these titles, let’s compare notes! Just ask me – I’d be happy to answer – if you’re looking for a recommendation or something.

 

* Anyone else feel that there’s a slight resemblance between Cunningham’s voice and Donna Tartt’s? Why is Atticus Finch such an altogether decent, straight up flawless and morally sound character? Why is Scouts personality so much like Pippi Longstockings? How come the most reasonable character of them all – (considering Atticus is too reasonable to be sane) – is Boo Radley, the recluse? Are we all just to accept that the world is mad?

Is anyone else (amused) annoyed by the supposed (actual) parallel between museums and women?

In Bradbury’s T.I.M., some of the stories are almost ‘stuffing’, the quality of the writing is very much fluctuating. I found I only care for a few of the stories. (The Veldt, The Last Night of the World, The Fox and The Forest, Marionettes Inc.) 

Anyone who’s read Blackbird (Lauck) must have noticed the loss of depth in the two following books, Still Waters and Show Me the Way. It must be gruesome writing a close and personal (childhood) biography from a dark place, I get that. And I’m not longing for the misfortune, misery and drama of a suffering victim – no, just the connection and recognition of the unwanted aspects of humanity – being human is being out of control at some point, numb or hypersensitive, reckless and unbalanced or cold in some situations, unattractive and unreasonable in others. To have other qualities, not just the perky, shiny ones of an emotional storefront window display. Laucks writing is truly terrific, that’s why I’m so disappointed – because it could have been two such great books.

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