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Member: jwhenderson

CollectionsYour library (5,218), Currently reading (3), To read (21), Read but unowned (87), Favorites (156), Adventure Library (2), College Reading (62), CPL (22), Basic Program (100), Penguins (6), Book Groups (170), Ebook (8), Folio Society (12), nyrb (15), Speculative Fiction (28), Time Reading Program (13), Wishlist (7), Early Reviewers Selection (8), Dalkey Archive (2), Kindle (1), All collections (5,323)

Reviews1,127 reviews

Tagsnovel (1,234), philosophy (567), poetry (259), music (242), literary criticism (230), 20th cen british literature (200), essays (178), folio society (167), literary biography (156), american fiction (154) — see all tags

Cloudstag cloud, author cloud

About meI grew up in a home surrounded by books. One wall of our living room was book shelves filled with books from classic to contemporary and I had my own books from the moment I could read; thus I have been a bibliophile all my life. My eclectic reading interests focus mainly on the humanities. Through participation in literature classes and discussion groups I am continuing my education. Long ago I received a BA in economics and an MS in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin. More recently I have been spurred by courses in the Basic Program of Liberal Education at the University of Chicago and courses at the Newberry Library. I enjoy reading novels, history, biographies, literary criticism and commmonplace books (James, Enright, Auden and Connoly).

"The sight of the cover of a book one has previously read retains, woven into the letters of its title, the moonbeams of a far-off summer night." - Marcel Proust --

About my libraryMy library encompasses a wide variety of subjects with a primary emphasis on fiction, philosophical, poetic, musical and historical works. Some works are saved from my youth while I have collected some Folio Society, biography and literature in translation over the years. I agree with Proust who described a book as "magic as potent as the deepest slumber".

GroupsBBC Radio 3 Listeners, Books Compared, Books in Books, Books on Books, Chicagoans, Classical Music, Gay Men, Libertarian and Market Liberals, Literary Snobs, Philosophy and Theoryshow all groups

Favorite authorsAristotle, W. H. Auden, Jacques Barzun, Claude Frédéric Bastiat, Samuel Beckett, Sybille Bedford, Alan Bennett, Isaiah Berlin, Jorge Luis Borges, Alfred Brendel, Richard Brookhiser, Anthony Burgess, Albert Camus, Elias Canetti, Lewis Carroll, Winston S. Churchill, J.M. Coetzee, Joseph Conrad, Hart Crane, Guy Davenport, Michael Dirda, Alexandre Dumas, John Enright, Antony Flew, Milton Friedman, Roger Martin du Gard, José Ortega y Gasset, André Gide, Graham Greene, Julien Green, Ursula K. Le Guin, Lars Gustafsson, Knut Hamsun, F. A. Hayek, Henry Hazlitt, Hermann Hesse, Gilbert Highet, Paul Hindemith, Christopher Hitchens, Eric Hoffer, Sidney Hook, Victor Hugo, David Hume, Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, Ryszard Kapuściński, Nikos Kazantzakis, Rudyard Kipling, Wolfgang Koeppen, Arthur Koestler, Milan Kundera, Pär Lagerkvist, John Locke, John Lukacs, Maurice Maeterlinck, Naguib Mahfouz, Alberto Manguel, Thomas Mann, Simon Mawer, Czesław Miłosz, Ludwig von Mises, Michel de Montaigne, James Morrow, Iris Murdoch, Robert Musil, Vladimir Nabokov, V. S. Naipaul, Robert Nozick, Sherwin B. Nuland, George Orwell, Orhan Pamuk, Walker Percy, David Plante, Marcel Proust, James Purdy, Raymond Queneau, Mary Renault, Gregor von Rezzori, Romain Rolland, Charles Rosen, Murray N. Rothbard, James Salter, George Santayana, José Saramago, Simon Schama, Arthur Schopenhauer, Thomas Sowell, George Steiner, Robert Louis Stevenson, David Storey, Colm Tóibín, Georg Trakl, A. E. van Vogt, Jules Verne, Glenway Wescott, Edmund White, Oscar Wilde, Marguerite Yourcenar (Shared favorites)


Favorite bookstores57th Street Books, Booklegger's Used Books, Bookworks, Selected Works Used Books and Sheet Music, The Book Cellar, The Gallery Bookstore

Favorite librariesArt Institute of Chicago - Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, Chicago Public Library - Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago Public Library - Lincoln Park Branch, Newberry Library


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Real nameJames Henderson

LocationChicago, Illinois

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/jwhenderson (profile)
/catalog/jwhenderson (library)

Member sinceSep 29, 2006

Currently readingFlaws in the Glass: A Self-Portrait by Patrick White
Christ Stopped at Eboli : The Story of a Year by
Conversations with Samuel Beckett and Bram van Velde (French Literature Series) by Charles Juliet

Leave a comment


I had a subscription for pretty close to the length of the program. There were some real treasures in that group of books.
Hello James-

I saw your comment about my review of Pnin, so I decided to browse your libraries. It turns out we have a surprising amount of books and favorite authors in common. I look forward to seeing your comments or talking with you in the future.

Happy reading!

I'm as big a fan of Burgess' earliest stuff. I like the Enderby novels, Any Old Iron, Earthly Powers, Nothing Like the Sun, but almost all the non fiction is good. At least, it's right up my alley. He's really the lodestone that set me off on my 30 year Joycean/Nabokovian/Marlovian/linguistic jaunt. I'm thinking that Peter Ackroyd is the closest we have nowadays.
I think I'm about to jump into Pride and Prejudice having, amazingly, avoided it this long.
Hello JW Henderson:

I was updating my profile and looked to see others that may have read "Love and Friendship", which was lent to me by a friend/philosophy student many years ago. I often turn to it for reference and insight. Also, upon snooping around your profile, I couldn't help but notice that we have very similar reading taste! It's nice to find a book doppelganger out there :)

Hope you have very happy holidays, and keep on reading.


Hope you don't mind me asking but I see you have also just completed [Handful of dust]. I read/listened to the audio version and it just seemed to suddenly end. As I never had the book in front of me I could not tell if I had a faulty recording. My book seemed to end when at the point where the heirs of the estate set up a fox haven. Is the correct. Also there are I believe 2 endings in different versions ( I hear).

Thanx in advance

Greetings again James -
I finally finished my reread of Sertillanges. I composed a prayer for use before and after study, made up of instructions in this book I found most pithy and memorable. Of course this is only a draft which will evolve as I use it. I hope in some way you find it useful.

Prayer to Truth.

As I begin my study, remind me to always be a conscientious workman.
May I only be satisfied by the depths of the truth, not by little gems and shallow understanding.
May I find the perseverance to dive into one field, but never lose an eye to the unity of Truth in you.
May I have a heart afire for your son Jesus Christ, not a crammed head for my ego.

Purify me morally so I may be open to your truth in love and charity.
Cleanse my mind so that it focuses on you in solitude and silence, but not in rejection of all your sons and daughters.
Remind me of my ignorance, that I am always a child to you and to the Truth beyond all human understanding.
Fill me with a love and respect for my study, a building-up for your Kingdom rather than a cutting criticism for my ego.
Show me when I am losing humility, when I gaze at my ideas too impressed by my ingenuity to tear them down and see truth afresh.
Never let me forget the depth of the universe, of children, of nature, of all things in Your glorious creation.

In waking and sleeping, study and socializing, in my mind and body, in my thoughts and actions,
May I be a thinker at all times, as I strive to be a Christian at all times.
May I work before the Cross, as I live before the Cross.
May my mind only serve to make me a broad and loving person.
Guide my work with vision at the outset, with perseverance in the middle, and with dedication to your people at the end.
Blessed be you, O Lord, in all the ways you shine in the world.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
James - saw your review of The Intellectual Life by A.G. Sertillanges. I read this book every year to keep my motives high and set in the right direction. We seem to share a lot of books as well. Good to run into you.

Do you keep a reading journal on LT?
I enjoy reading your reviews. Won't you consider joining "Club Read 2012" and post your reviews there? You will find a very appreciative audience there, and very encouraging group members.
I found your review of "Heart of Darkness" very thoughtful and insightful. This led me to your profile page, and your recently reviewed books such as "Neverwhere", etc. I find a number of interesting libraries here on Library Thing, but not quite as many interesting and in-depth reviews. Thank you for yours. I look forward to reading more of them.

Happy Reading,
Hi James,

To answer your question, a handful of the interviews are interesting, but mostly only those in which the interviewee is of interest in their own right (such as Mickey Spillane). A few of the later ones with people who knew her better have some interesting material as well. Other than that, most of the book is filled with material that you either might already know, or couldn't possibly want to. A lot of it is interviews with distant relatives or autograph-seeking fans who only met Rand on perhaps one occasion, and repeat ad nauseum how invariably kind she was to children and strangers (presumably included to soften her supposedly harsh public image). There's even an interview with her dentist, discussing her attitude toward visiting him---she disliked it, but knew it was in her long-range interest (isn't that *everyone's* attitude toward visiting the dentist?!). A lot of meaningless blather like that. At best, the book should have been half its actual length.

So you might want to just pick it up from the library and skim it for the interesting interviews. (I actually did a skim-through first, and thought it was pretty good---until I went back and read it from cover to cover.) And of course, this is just my opinion, so you may well disagree---and if you checked it out from the library and really liked it, you could decide then whether you want to spend the money to buy your own copy or not. Anyway, that's my advice.

Hi James,

We do share an interesting aray of books. Scanning through the list of things we have in common beings back of lot of fond memories. I'm looking forward to browsing your library to find the things I've missed over the years.

When I'm not working on my own LT site I'm working on the GLCC Library catalog. I'm the chair of the library committee for the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh. When I feel like I just can't add one more book to my personal library (a very rare feeling indeed) I buy old and new things for the GLCC. Check it out when you get a chance. If you can't find it let me know.

Take care.

great book collection-peace
Thanks for the open ivitation and the compliment. I'm sure that I will have some wonderful hours browsing your (virtual) shelves and adding to my must have list.
I am glad that you also enjoy Mary Renault and Somerset Maugham, since I believe that they are underappreciated as authors.
Hi. I hope that you don't mind me poking around in your library stacks. I came across one of your reviews on the hot reviews list (nice one, by the way) and while looking I found that although we both have large libraries we don't have many books in common. More encouragement for my wishlist! Lol. Happy reading!!
You're welcome! I haven't been updating my Library Thing collection in almost a year until yesterday. The house is overflowing with music, recordings, and music books. Many more are waiting to be cataloged.

We may have other interests in common as well.
Hi Jim,

sorry for the delay in replying to your message. I was away from home for Christmas and only just got back so I had limited access to the web. I was a quick look through your library and found some very interesting books there, many of which are favourites or mine, so I added you library to my list. I have not very many of my books added yet, but I have several hundred here however I want to organise them a bit better as I add them onto LibraryThing. Also I tended to read a lot of rubbish and now at the ripe old age of 38 have decided that I want to read more meaningful books (as well as the pulp trash of course! haha).

Thank you for your comment about my review of The History Boys by Alan Bennett. He is definetly one of my favourite authors. I love his style of writing and the humour and quiet tragedy found in his books. I find reading his books that when you a smiling a tear is never far away and when you are crying a smile is just around the corner. I have ordered several ore of his books over Christmas, so I hope to have then soon, including the original play of the History Boys. I was actually book shopping today and found a copy of his latest book, called A Life Like Other People's. It seems to be taken from his larger books of memoirs, called Untold Stories.
Also I noticed that you like John Banville. I read one of his Benjamin Black books over Christmas ( Christine Falls ) and fell in love with his style, so again bought a few others today, including a signed first edition of his new book The Infinities.

I hope you had a nice Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Thanks for visiting and for leaving a comment! I hope we stay in touch - please do send an email or leave a comment when you can!
Just stopped by to say I enjoyed your review of The Origin of Species. Then I read several of your other reviews, and enjoyed them as well!
Hey James:

I had to laugh--with delight-- at your list of favorite authors. Is there anyone you don't like? :-)

I just read your review of Dandelion Wine--one of my favorite novels--and really enjoyed it. Well written and thoughtful. (I clicked on the green thumb up icon) It was also good to learn that Bradbury had a sequel to it, Farewell Summer. I hadn't known that. I'll definately look for it.

I just joined LibraryThing a week or so ago and really enjoy it.

Thanks for your comments on Green Mansions. You captured the best feelings I have had about the book since my first reading of it in my teens. Perhaps I overdid the re-readings too frequently in my earlier years. Perhaps I have been away from it long enough (and am now old enough) to appreciate it again. I think I'll give it a go. In any case, I know no matter what my immediate reactions on this re-reading, like you I will consider it one of my all-time favorites.
I am not surprised that the intersection of our "eclectic" libraries includes numerous books on epistemology and philosphy of mind (e.g. Concept of Mind by Gilbert Ryle, Consilience by Wilson), a lot of European fiction, and a fair amount of lit crit; nor that your "currently reading" list is much longer than 2-3 books, as is mine. But - even though you clearly show an interest in European fiction, it is unusual to find a library with more than a chance Hungarian book, in this case both Marai and Nadas, perhaps others that a quick scan did not catch. Interesting.

I note that Green Mansions is on your "recently read" list. This is one of my top 10 all time books going all the way back to my first reading of it in the late 1950's. It was a book I read every year or two for many years, but whether it was because I was finally jaded on it because of too many re-readings, or because the more mature perspective I brought to it in my later adult years spoiled the freshness of my first response, at some point I decided not to re-read it again for fear of losing altogether even the memory of my enchantment with it. Of course there is a question here: was this your first reading or a re-reading? Either way, I would be interested in how you responded to the more ethereal or fantasy-like elements of it.
I was reading your entry on The Fountainhead and it got me thinking about a few things, principally that much of my own writing has a similar viewpoint (a long journey back from oblivion to right too many wrongs). Actually I was recommended to join this site and this is my first entry. I was told I'd get much better exposure, though it seems to be a site more for establsihed publishers to get their books reviewed than for individual authors like myself to make the right contact.

Anyway my own book Convergence documents the surprisingly cut-throat world of science and reflects the real-world experiences of tens of thousands of young researchers everywhere. There are four main storylines, each involving a woman seemingly unrelated to the other three. Convergence begins by slowly taking the reader into the world of science and discovery, an apparently benign culture full of supportive people. However, despite the moral purity of the four main protagonists, sinister undercurrents undermine each storyline as the novel progresses. Thus, although starting out purely as a science mystery, Convergence develops into a slow-burning political drama. At the core of the novel are ethical and moral issues that are frequently revisited throughout the book, echoing similar themes contained within The Demon Haunted World and Contact (by Carl Sagan).

Subject to availability, a limited number of free copies of Convergence have been set aside for review purposes. Send email to Christopher Turner at if you wish to have a free copy for review. Please mention Library Thing in the body of your email.

Just as I suspected. My Amazon wish list has grown again. And Theodore Sturgeon. Jeez I have not read him in at least 20 years. Now I must. Thanks I think.

Thanks. I can say on my reread that my memory remains intact which an experience I rarely have with books I reread decades later. I will check out your library in a bit. I have been trying not to look at people's libraries because it leads to more book purchases.

Take care.

sorry for the italics. apparently I dropped a backslash somewhere.

how embarrassing!
Thanks for your note, nice to know someone reads my pitiful little reviews.

I haven't read Ali and Nino, but picked it up after having read and enjoyed The Orientalist.

As luck would have it, I'm expecting a copy of Yourcenar's Oriental Tales to plop into my mailbox any day now. That Mighty Sculptor, Time (if that's what it's called) was good as well.

I've been casting about for what to read next. The inclusion of Gide in your favorite authors reminds me that I've meant to read The Vatican Cellars. Any opinion on that one?


I agree completely on Radetzky March, truly a great novel. I liked Rebellion well enough, but didn't think it on par with Roth's best work.

Thanks for your insightful review of Joseph Roth's 'Job'. It's one of the few books by this writer I haven't read, but your remarks are a great incentive to change that very soon. Regards, Bart
Thanks Jim. I look forward to digging through your library and blog to find new favorite authors. I'll also add you to my blogroll. Adding books to LibraryThing is addictive -- I have six more bookcases to go.
Thanks for your comments concerning Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman. I think you'll enjoy it, but in any event, I'd be interested in your comments when you've finished. I've ordered other works by Grossman detailing his experiences traveling with the Red Army during WWII.
I appreciate your recommendations on WWI reading material. I've read All Quiet on the Western Front, but have always been fascinated by the dearth of reading material on such an important historical event. Thanks again.

Steve Anthony
good to know you're ok.
I see that you added Gore Vidal's Washington. Have you read the whole series?: Narratives of Empire. Stupendous, if you haven't done it yet. I think his masterpiece, though, has got to be Myra Breckinridge/Myron. It's very underrated, but one of the best books I've read. Probably cost GV his Nobel.
yes, thank God for the internet!
No, to the Thousand Cranes. The Kawabata, yes, I would recommend it if you're interested in Japan. it's a haunting book, exquisitely written, and a couple of hours read as it's so short.

On a completely different topic, another book I would wholeheartedly recommend to you as an Auden man, is Thekla Clark's memoire of Auden and Chester, which I am reading now. it's the best book on Auden I've read, and also fills out the portrait of Chester, who I always felt has been overshadowed in the Auden biographical canon. Thekla Clark writes very well, and movingly conveys what it must have been like to spend time with the 'odd couple'.

Best wishes
Thanks for letting me know, Jim. I enjoyed all the reviews very much, and have added both books to my TBR list. I hope I get can get them here in Taiwan. Our biggest English language book store here has just reduced its floor space by more than 2 thirds. Needless to say, most of their stock now consists of junk by James Patterson, Jeffrey Archer and their ilk.
Reading your blog, I am often struck by what a marvellously rich cultural life you enjoy. Must say, I am quite envious!
What Dickens are you reading?
I'm currently reading Kawabata's Beauty and Sadness, which is both beautiful and sad.
Best wishes,
I noticed that you were a fan of Ryszard Kapuscinski, so I thought I'd let you know that a small Canadian press, Biblioasis, has just brought out a volume of his selected poetry. It's the only edition of Kapuscinski's poetry available in english. It's called I Wrote Stone, and was translated from the Polish by Diana Kuprel and Marek Kusiba.

His verse is interesting, and as one would expect, thoughtful, philosophical, aphoristic and engaged politically, morally and viscerally with the world around him. It's something all fans of Kapuscinski should read, a book that meant a lot to him, and that he worked very hard to see published before his death. It's a shame, alas, that he did not quite make it.

Anyway, it's available from Biblioasis. Online (, and anywhere else you can find good books. Check it out.

(Sorry: I am an interested party: the publisher. But we're a small, literary press, and we're just doing our best to let anyone who might be interested know about this collection. Pardon my intrusion.)

Dan Wells
Hi James

I just read your review of "Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned", by Walter Mosley. It is a great review. I am not adept at literary criticism, but your comments precisely reflected my view of the book. I mentioned my interest in the mystery genre to a colleague in the English department and he recommended Mosley. "The King's English" suggested this book.

I look forward to reading your review, then.
I started CT about 15 years ago and gave up, but I'm willing to give it another try....
I'm just about to finish Europe Central by Vollman, which offers a penetraitng and extremely moving analysis of Shostakovich's life and music (among other things.) highly recommended.
Best wishes
hi Jim,
Thanks for your comment on the lectern today. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks we are living in the Age of Twilight.
I keep meaning to ask you about your reading of Mahfouz's Cairo trilogy. How's it going?
You have an impressive library, and some interesting reviews. I envy you for living in Chicago -- I still have to make my pilgrimage to the Seminary Co-op bookstore.

I noticed that we share several favorite authors. We live in Denver, but I am a native Chicagoan - grew up in Hyde Park and South Shore - and usually visit for conferences once a year. My husband Leif has been a scholar of the Austrian School for decades - we are "small l" libertarians. Like your description and look forward to browsing your library. We have about 3,000 books to go (grin) a few at a time.

Pat Wagner

ExplorersFoundation - my husband is building a collection online related to his foundation -
Hello Henderson, this is the veritable Floyd Dangle. I see we share 70 titles and I'm still logging with hundreds more to go.
I see you are a Chicagoan- I envy you. Chicago is the greatest and most truly American city in the USA. My wife and I eloped there in 2005 staying at the Palmer House and seeing all we could for a week. Perchance have you read or own any books by Joseph Epstein, an essayist and U. of Chicago alumnus. If not check out his latest collection, In a Cardboard Belt.
How's the weather in Chitown- a miserable room temperature here in SoCal. Floyd Dangle
yes absolutely. Perhaps I was too young when I read it. Have you read The Yacoubian Building? I notice you have it in your library. Looks like it might go well with the Cairo trilogy.
Happy reading!
HI Jim,
Thanks for your comments on my Dylan Thomas piece, and for posting the link to The Lectern on your blog. (I need to find out how to do that: I dont seem to be as computer literate as you are; but when I get the hang of it I will link to your blog as well, if I may.)
I'm having a bit of a Keats phase at the moment, and of course Dylan Thomas. Other than that, I'm also catching up on my Chinese history, which is woefully sketchy considering that I live in the Chinese world.

I need to win the lottery so that I can give up work and just read!
Best wishes,
Thanks for the encouragement... I appreciate knowing that someone who loves opera didn't care for Bel Canto as well. Makes me feel like less of an uncultured slob.
For another interesting incorporation of Herodotus, have you ever read The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje? It is a novel (that was made into a fairly popular movie in the 90's) about a pilot hospitalized in Italy downed in Africa during WWII who carried and read Herodotus with him, and refers to a few of the accounts in The Hisrories. Not everyone likes Ondaatje-his language and style is very poetic and beautiful but many people thing its a little over the top.
Here is one I just completed in August: Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski, a Polish journalist who died recently. It is a memoir that combines his lifelong reading of The Histories with his experiences in the same areas (and a few additional areas)
David Gee.
Hi Jim,

Thank you for the Victor Hugo recommendation. I've only read a couple of his books and found them enjoyable. Ninety-Three is definitely going on my to-be-read list. I love your library! Your wide selection of poetry, literature, literary criticism, philosophy... is just heavenly to browse through! Most of my Lit. and philosophy books are in storage, because my place can't handle any more shelves. Your reviews are great as well.
It's a challenge to recommend favorite books/authors you haven't already read, but I'll give it some thought :) I'm partial to Fyodor Dostoyevsky (especially The Brothers Karamazov) and Charles Dickens (especially David Copperfield).

Happy Reading!

Just entered a book with a Kroch's & Bren­tano's sale tag. Thought about you. Wasn't that a terrific bookstore? I Spent hours in the basement of that place. BTW, I used to live near the Lakeview area. For a couple of years I lived on Deming Place, right off of Clark Street. Really fun area.
Hi James!
How's life in Chicago? I lived in the Streeterville area for five years back in the '90s - what a great town!
My word, you have a remarkable collection. I see you like Nabokov, Auchincloss and Waugh. Three of my favorites. Yeah, people just don't understand why I buy books that I don't read. I guess it's that pragmatic strain in American thought. I just like having books around - even just to flip through from time to time.
Keep smiling!
Well, I was teasing slightly: I just happened to notice your 5-star rating of a book that I had just given a slightly cool review ('Planets for Sale'). I think 'Voyage of Space Beagle' was my favourite, or at least was the most memorable, but as I haven't catalogued it yet, it hasn't got a rating from me.
I am slightly surprised that A. E. van Vogt is not listed among your "favourite" authors, since you appear to have given 5 stars to everything of his in your collection! (Or would he look too out of place among all those heavyweights of European literature?)
I have been reading a few of your reviews, and found them really interesting and helpful. I now know for sure that I must read The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
Hi; yes, the only tagging I've done well on is the philosophy; - and that is really because it is my overriding interest. Politics and Religion interest me but only insofar as they interesect with philosophy. Over the last decade, decade and a half, philosophy has been my primary obsession... There are a great deal of interesting libraries here on LT, I love utilizing them for my own researches.

Thanks for the note and thoughts. We had different reactions to the Murakami (which, I'll concede is the only book of his that I've read so far). I liked it. I enjoyed his writing, though I'll concede that the book is...different. I want to read another book or two of his before I decide what I think. I'm not expecting a lot, but I'd love to be pleasantly surprised.
Of the "favorite authors" you mentioned, I remember very much enjoying Utz and All Passion Spent. I have tried unsuccessfully to read Mann--something that I suspect may be as much a translator issue as an author issue. (Though, in fairness, after reading some 250 pages of Magic Mountain, I simply didn't care enough about the protagonist to continue.) Hamsun is on the list as is Saramago, though from what limited browsing I've done, I'm not entirely optimistic about either.
You're likely to get to the Marai before I do--let me know what you think.

Thanks for your kind note. We do, indeed, share an interest in European fiction--one that appears to extend quite a bit. Interestingly, I also just got the latest Marai and have put it on the nightstand--behind the first 397! Sadly, I have never been able to read Dostoyevsky. I have had better luck with some translators than others and with more out of the way pieces than "mainstream" works, but I guess he's just too...interior...for me. I wish it were otherwise, especially since I have great interest in Russian fiction generally (something apparently true of you as well). He's just a little too obtuse for me. You also have quite a bit by Lagerkvist--we must be two of a relatively few addicts. One area, among others, that you might be interested in exploring is Japanese fiction. You have some, but others you might particular enjoy are Shusaku Endo (esp. Silence and The Sea and Poison), Yasunari Kawabata (Snow Country, Sound of the Mountain, etc.), and Natsume Soseki (esp. Kokoro). Also, given your interest in Eastern European as well, some Polish authors like Herling (The Island) and Huelle (Who Was David Weiser?), among others.

Your recommendations?

I just saw your blog for the first time, and at first glance I thought it was mine! We're using the same template and are writing about many of the same things. I love some of the things you are saying up there.

I'm also a huge fan of Auden. Actually, I think more than any other writer he has had the most impact on my life. What are you reading by him at the moment?

"All we are not stares back at what we are."
Best wishes, Murr
yes, tamas is one of my favourite books...very few authors have been able to delineate the nuances of the relationships b/w different set of people in colonial India...bhisham sahni is one of the few who have been successful....

i saw that i have the book, "Tamas" in common with you (you and no other, librarything informs me)...i was wondering if you could tell me, how you liked it, esp since the beauty of most works is lost in translation...

and btw, you have a lovely library..the range of titles gets a little overwhelming on first sight but then, hopefully would be able to build up my 'armory' over the years :)
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