Friday, June 05, 2009

till the eagle grins

I finished the first book of my book challenge over a week ago – The Crimson Petal and the White. It was okay. Enjoyable but not really satisfying, what is typically called –for better or worse- a romp.

I’m now halfway through Helen Vendler’s Wallace Stevens: Words Chosen Out of Desire, which has helped humanize Stevens for me. I love his poetry anyway, and if anything, this book only makes it better.

I’m also nearly done with Down and Out in Paris and London, which I started on the train to Paris last week. I was under the impression the book was non-fiction/reportage, but when the narrator at one point is asked to write some political articles and says he has no political opinions, I was thrown for a loop since Orwell certainly had political opinions. I looked on the back cover and it says “fiction.” So let’s call it autobiographical fiction, and more autobiographical than fiction, unlike the “memoirs” you see these days that turn out to be frauds. It’s an excellent book.

When my mother arrived last week she not only brought me some books I’d asked for, but also a stack of books she planned to read herself, including Netherland, The Reserve and The Sorrows of an American, all of which I will inherit before she leaves. In exchange she gets my copy of Continental Drift. It is ridiculous considering the number of books she is going to leave behind, but I love that book so much, I am almost tempted to tell her she can’t take it.

But that would be too horrible of me.


BJeronimo said...

You are an inspiration. I haven't taken the challenge, but you've made me consious of how much I'm not reading. Now on a trashy spy bit - The Increment.

Nice h/t to EC.

SarahJane said...

I wish I could read trashy spy stuff. I've tried, but have yet to do even one. I think Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory were the closest I've come, and I didn't like that much. Not that it was trashy. Ach, keine Ahnung.

Toni Clark said...

Okay, that was quite an endorsement. I'm going to read Continental Drift.

What's the challenge?

Toni Clark said...

PS: I see the challenge -- 9 books in 9 categories. I'll cheer you on. Seems like I read constantly, but lately haven't read many entire books (lots of magazines, journals, etc.). However, I did read the Pulitzer prize-winning "Olive Kitteridge" by Elizabeth Strout and it was the best fiction I've read in ages.

SarahJane said...

I'll look that one up, Toni. Thanks. I'm reading a book not on that list at the moment - Wolf Totem.

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