What NYRB are you reading? Part 2
This topic was continued by What NYRB are you reading? Part 3.
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The old thread is getting a bit unwieldy, especially for those with intersnail modems.
Finished The Road another excellent book by Vasily Grossman. I'm very grateful to NYRB Classics for introducing me to the writings of Vasily Grossman who I probably wouldn't have read otherwise.
I am reading The Road and I too am grateful to NYRB for introducing me to Grossman. I have to say he continues to amaze me, especially the shattering "The Hell of Treblinka."
I'm also a great admirer of Grossman's work.
Top marks also to NYRB for the design and layout of The Road, including several new photos (at least new to me). Its quite beautifully done.
The only negative thing I can say about "The Road" is that the extremely helpful notes in the back are referenced only by page numbers; there are no in-text endnote numbers to alert the reader that there is a note. For future books, I hope NYRB will return to standard endnotes like those used for Grossman's Everything Flows.
rebeccanyc: The placement and format of notes and note markers is always a tough call. In this case there was a feeling that, given the number of notes in particular sections, it would be distracting to have markers on the actual page. Clearly this would not have been true for you. And maybe not true for most readers. It's so hard to know or to know if there's a "right" way to do things. We hear you, though.
nyrb -- Thank you. I can understand that this is a difficult decision, and I have no idea how typical I am in this respect, but I have such high regard for NYRB's standards of editorial selection and production that I couldn't resist expressing one of the few quibbles I have ever had about any of your books!
Finished Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides. First time I've read Euripides but very good, especially Hippolytos.
I like footnotes. I am an academic, used to reading books with tons of notes. I hate flipping back and forth. Yet the notes are often as important as the book itself. Of course, this doesn't solve the problem with e-books - one still has to click on the number to get to the endnote. And some publishers do not even make this option available.
>#12: My wife is a professor of classics, and uses Grief Lessons as one of the assigned text for her Greek and Roman drama in translation course at Carleton College. She thinks both the translations and the essays are excellent.
I take credit for introducing her to New York Review Books. On my recommendation, she's also read Stoner and Hons and Rebels, and is currently reading (and loving as much as I did) The Long Ships.
>14 -- You deserve great credit for having re-directed the evangelical impulse we all share to something really worthwhile: like turning your wife on to NRYB and me on to "The Long Ships". Thanks.
The World as I Found It is wonderful. I am anxiously awaiting the release of the Kindle edition of Balzac's The Hidden Masterpiece. A print copy has been out for some time. I wanted to review it for LT and for a new blog that a friend and I have started: Club Balzac. It is not simply devoted to Balzac's work. Lots of other works are reviewed as well. But alas, Amazon (or NYRB) keeps changing the Kindle release date, so I will have to find something else to read and review for the NYRB read in Nov.
What could be more auspicious than preceding the hidden masterpiece with a finding book. If only Amazon could find yours...
Well I haven't read it yet, but just won Nature Stories by Jules Renard in the Early Reviewer sweepstakes, so very excited about that. Thanks NYRB.
Alas, the release date for the Kindle version of The Hidden Masterpiece has been moved up once more - to January. I will wait patently until Jan. 11, after which I will settle for the PG version. NYRB, where are you? sob
I read After Claude -- admired Owens's writing and characterization, and the look back at the 70s, but found the novel claustrophobic because of Harriet's insufferable intensity.
Finished The Haunted Looking Glass edited by Edward Gorey. There were a few excellent stories (like "The Monkey's Paw" and "The Judge's House") but most just seemed average.
Clandestine in Chile by Gabriel García Márquez, tr. Asa Zatz, is a true story of an exiled Chilean film director's underground mission to go back to Chile and shoot a documentary detailing life under Pinochet's military dictatorship.
Not as dramatic as Roberto Bolaño's portrait of Chile under iron rule in By Night in Chile and Distant Star. but still a candid and nostalgic look at losing one's own identity and being a stranger in one's own homeland.
Its not a novel, but Wittgenstein's Poker is a very entertaining read.
Finished Tun-huang by Yasushi Inoue and thought it was very good.
Finished After Claude by Iris Owens and I agree with >25. I liked the book as a study of the main character but didn't like the main character herself.
I am still wanting to read the NYRB Kindle version of The Unknown Masterpiece, but NYRB keeps moving the date back. What's the deal NYRB?????
Finished Nature Stories by Jules Renard. Thought it was entertaining but not overwhelming. Like the cover with the snail.
I started The Outward Room but put it down as it did not particularly grab my interest. Perhaps, it was all in the timing and I need to revisit the book. I plan to start Rogue Male today, a short NYRB that had escaped my attention.
25 and 34> I detested After Claude -- I only made myself get through it because I got it as an Early Reviewer and felt obligated.
>40 I won a copy of After Claude as part of an NYRB giveaway on Facebook, so I'm hoping I can find something to like about it other than that it was free!
Finished Mawrdew Czgowchwz by James McCourt. Interesting in places but didn't really grab me. The words got in the way on this one.
Currently reading A Handbook on Hanging and it's really interesting, like reading a mid-century British Stephen Colbert.
I am in the midst of The Post-Office Girl which I am enjoying immensely.
I'll start An African in Greenland by Tété Michel-Kpomassie later today.
oh kidzdoc that is a favorite of mine. I look forward to hearing what you think of it.
Finished The Vet's Daughter by Barbara Comyns. I thought it was a remarkable book that was hard to put down once I started reading it. The ending was a little darker than I expected.
Of possible related interest: http://www.angelfire.com/art/wildwood/shnobble.html
Finished The Mountain Lion by Jean Stafford, a disturbing realistic story of siblings growing apart.
>51 Read Stafford's Boston Adventure. Read everything she wrote. Her short stories are superb!!!
I was not as wild about the Collected Stories of Jean Stafford, which I read at the end of last year, as I was about The Mountain Lion. I really liked the western stories, but I found some of the others somewhat dated and overwritten/overexplained for my taste, and the repetitiveness of her themes became a little overwhelming in a collection of this size. But I'm going to look for Boston Adventure, which seems to be out of print.
And I finished it, loved it, and reviewed it @ http://www.librarything.com/work/644062/reviews
Enjoyed The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim very much. Will have to read some of her other books.
Not currently reading an NYRB, but I loaned my copy of The Long Ships to a friend who has been having a terribly hard winter of surgery and chemo and radiation for breast cancer, and she has been absolutely delighted by the book. It's the perfect book to brighten up a long, hard winter.
Finished Selected Stories by Robert Walser. Good, but more like the written equivalent of a sketchbook than like regular stories.
Finished Asleep in the Sun by Adolfo Bioy Casares. Enjoyed it very much. Found the main character, Lucio Bordenave, very appealing.
Finished Pedigree by Georges Simenon. Although I did enjoy it, Pedigree seemed like what it was supposed to be which is the first volume in a trilogy. There are plot threads which are left dangling which maybe would have had a payoff in later volumes. Too bad Simenon didn't write the other two books à la Mark Twain and leave them to be published long enough after his death that nobody alive would be offended and sue.
Just finished the haunting and brilliant The Vet's Daughter by Barbara Comyns.
I've been dipping into Gilbert Highet's Poets in a Landscape, which is lovely. The introduction is by my former dissertation advisor, Michael C.J. Putnam, who is also lovely. Some of my most satisfying intellectual experiences were the times I spent in MCJP's office at Brown University, talking about Vergil. The same humanity and sensitivity pervades Highet's book.
I am reading The Doll by Bolesłav Prus. I cannot pronounce many of the names including the author's. So they are all come out "mlumph" in my head.
I'll be interested in what you think of The Doll because I bought it recently but haven't started it yet.
ł is pronounced like our w, for a start. Łodz should have a mark over the o, which makes it oo, so it is pronounced Woodge (sort of)
Language expert to the rescue. Woodges are so much more interesting than mlumphs wouldn't you agree?
I just nabbed a copy of The One-Straw Revolution which looks fantastic! I am always surprised and pleased by NYRB nonfiction choices as well.
I'm reading A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 by Alistair Horne.
I'm reading The Fierce and Beautiful World by Andrei Platonov and have just realized that the first story, really a novella, in it, "Dzhan," is also the "Soul" in Soul and Other Stories, another NYRB publication (which I also have, but which is boxed up at the moment). Does anyone know why the same novella was included in two separate NYRB collections? Is there a difference?
This is what Robert Chandler, the translator of Soul and Other Stories has to say about The Fierce and Beautiful World - and about ''Dzhan'':
'Platonov is the finest Russian prose-writer of the last century, but this republication of a volume first published around 1970 is a disappointment. Firstly, the translation is mediocre; secondly, the short novel "Dzhan", the longest and greatest work in this volume, was translated from a heavily censored Soviet text. Many of the most striking, most unusual or most subversive passages of the original have been cut out.'
Thanks, Paul. I actually pulled Soul and Other Stories off the shelf yesterday after finishing The Fierce and Beautiful World and found Robert Chandler's introduction very insightful. The Soul collection includes several of the stories that were also included in The Fierce and Beautiful World. I've now started "Soul" and have been struck just in the first pages by the differences and the absence of some of "the most striking" passages in the earlier text, even ones that don't seem to be subversive. (For example, a woman is described in the earlier text as merely having "sad eyes," while in the full text she is decidedly ugly -- with a face like a horse and boils covered up with makeup. Maybe someone trained in a Soviet institute isn't supposed to get involved with ugly women.)
ETA I have to say that, even with "subversive" material cut from the earlier, censored version, the story "Dzhan," or "Soul" could easily be read as being critical of the Soviet system -- although perhaps easier for us in this post-Soviet era than for the censors themselves.
I completely adored The Long Ships! In fact, I know I will end up rereading it, which I can't say for many books because there are so many books I want to read for the first time.
On the question of the two Platonov collections, our edition of Soul and Other Stories supersedes The Fierce and Beautiful world for the reasons Robert Chandler mentions in the quote cited by Paul Dalton.
Thanks -- it's interesting reading Soul and Other Stories after reading The Fierce and Beautiful World. If I had known earlier why Soul supersedes TF&BW, I probably wouldn't have read the first book, but as someone who's been reading a lot of both fiction and nonfiction about the Soviet era it's interesting to see the differences.
Finished The Long Ships. All I can say is that I wished I had read it a long time ago, but I am happy I got to read it anyway. A wonderful story and a great voyage through time. Thanks for publishing it!
Finished Butcher's Crossing. Another amazingly good book. Definitely among my favorite NYRB Classics.
I love the make of NYRB books, the covers, the bindings, the inside color. The painting for Butcher's Crossing is so fitting. Emersonian, expanisive, pitch-perfect. Class act, just like the magazine. Understated, always smart...they've really been publishing a lot of titles.
I know Warlock has a cult behind it, is it worth it? To be honest, westerns are not my thing, hate them actually. I'll read a McCarthy during the summer months, but that's my limit.
I'm actually reading this to get a taste of Williams, maybe get into Stoner if it works out. I'm just frigthened the latter will be too depressing to get through. Williams' voice, to me, seems thoroughly American in a way I haven't yet encountered.
I love the children's books, just wish my niece did too. Alas, my brother! Him and his wife are the hoi polloi when it comes to reading, what little they do of it. Any book I've ever bought never seems to actually make it into her little bookshelf. It's funny, I wonder where they do go.
That reminds me, anyone look at the Carlo Collodi Pinocchio NYRB has? They had an awesome review last year. And Umberto Eco and Rebecca West...how nice!
*The review's still avaliable:
Now reading Wish Her Safe at Home, which is strange but strangely enjoyable.
Here's a nice article on John Williams:
Too bad his last novel, The Sleep of Reason, was never finished. It would have added to his diffuse cannon.
I'm reading The Three Christs of Ypsilanti by Milton Rokeach, a psychological study of three men afflicted with paranoid schizophrenia who each believes he is Christ, which was conducted in a psychiatric institution in Ypsilanti, Michigan from 1959 to 1961.
I am reading The Wedding of Zein, a light, humorous read. It does not tax the brain.
Finished The Three Christs of Ypsilanti which I enjoyed very much. Milton Rokeach is excellent at showing the Three Christs' essential humanity despite their crippling mental illnesses. It's interesting that he never seems to consider a possible biological cause for their schizophrenia. (I read that Thorazine was available starting around 1950. Rokeach doesn't mention the use of that drug either.)
I have read the first three stories of Mavis Gallant's Varieties of Exile. I am enjoying it.
I ended up loving Varieties of Exile - especially all the stories that feature Linnet.
Finished Fatale by Jean-Patrick Manchette. Apparently the wages of sin is death.
I finished The Three Christs of Ypsilanti on Saturday. I'll give it 3 stars for now, and review it in the next day or two.
I finished Mavis Gallant's Varieties of Exile. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it up to her usual standards. I also finished Penelope Mortimer's The Pumpkin Eater. It read like a combination of Wish Her Safe at Home and Diary of a Mad Housewife. I was hoping the new Theodor Fontane novel Irretrievable would come out on Kindle but it is not even listed as an upcoming Kindle title for this year. Alas.
Finished A Way of Life, Like Any Other by Darcy O'Brien. I enjoyed it as a study of how famous people live after fame passes. I thought the narrator seemed a little too self aware as a child and a little too ungrateful to his parents at the end. Since this is an autobiographical novel, the difference between what happens to the narrator's mother in the novel and how the author's mother's life actually turned out would make an interesting psychological case study all by itself.
Finished Slow Homecoming by Peter Handke. Didn't really love it or hate it. I thought the last section, " Child Story", about a father's relationship with his daughter was the best part.
I just found this thread and recently finished The Summer Book by Tove Jansson which was excellent.
Just finished and reviewed The Foundation Pit, which I found remarkable and puzzling.
Now reading Don't Look Now. The opening story is quite arresting, isn't it?
And I'm tempted to think that M. Night Shayamalan got the idea for Sixth Sense from another one of the stories in this collection...
I am reading Love's Work by Gillian Rose. Thus far I am underwhelmed.
I am reading Theodor Fontane's Irretrievable and am finding myself taking sides as fiercely as if this were my own family--not quite the way I usually read novels. NYRB needs to publish more Fontane.
Finished Irretrievable. I enjoyed the way Fontane showed everyone's point of view and how everyone had at least a little truth on their side.
Reading Reveille in Washington, though as it's my bedside book, I only get through about a page and a half a night, and then the next night I have to reread the last page to remember where I was. Nonetheless, enjoying it very much -- mostly I read fiction, and it's fun once in a while to get ahold of such a "newsy" piece of historical writing.
>128 After a few detours into other books, I finished Irretrievable. I agree with your assessment, but I still wanted to slap Christine.
Finished A Time to Keep Silence by Patrick Leigh Fermor. I enjoyed the book, but in some ways found the introduction by Karen Armstrong to be more insightful. The book would certainly be less without the introduction. (I think the introduction is best read after the rest of the book since Armstrong amplifies what Fermor says.)
Finished Lizard Music by Daniel Pinkwater from the children's collection. It reminded me a little of Eleanor Cameron's The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet, one of my favorite books growing up. Chickens even save the day in both. Lizard Music also has a dash of The Catcher in the Rye in its dislike of phonies.
Following Your Inner Chicken: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2009/10/following-your-inner-chicken-ozma-of-oz
I haven't been able to finish Love's Work. The epigraph, which guides the contours of this book is one to which I simply cannot subscribe: "Keep your mind in hell, and despair not." I will probably finish it at some point but not now. In the meantime, I have started The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley. Thus far, I am enjoying it quite a lot.
I finished Seduction and Betrayal. It was okay, well written, easily assessable, but nothing much new or startling about the literary works Hardwick discusses - at least not to me.
Finished The Golovlyov Family - I'd recommend it, with the caveat that it is pretty grim and claustrophobic. However, there are a number of scenes where the horrible is tempered with humor.
I'm reading Hadrian VII now. It was a bit of a slog at first - my Catholic jargon is nonexistent - but into it now.
I picked up Classic Crimes, which I've had for years, and am enjoying it, although the style takes some getting used to.
Just finished Fair Play by Tove Jansson. I read one of her novels last summer -- the one about the woman with the dog. Maybe because it's translated, I get a sort of flat feeling while I'm actually reading her, but though I thought Fair Play underwhelming as I went, the impression it left me with when I was finished was a glowing one. There should be more little gems written about intense friendship. This was definitely one.
I finished Hav last night. I'm glad that it will be in print even though it is not transcendent.
I just finished and reviewed The Mangan Inheritance; it was excellently written and kept me interested but was perhaps a little too melodramatic and credulity-stretching to be one of my favorites. It's possible I wasn't in the right mood for it.
Finished Stoner by John Williams, which I had never hear of until recently when it was brought to my attention and described as one of the best novels of the 20th century. Indeed!
Finished The Mangan Inheritance by Brian Moore. Read like a thriller with a dark secret at its heart. I enjoyed it.
I read The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson the other day (and was very pleased with how well it stood in comparison with The Summer Book), and now I'm beginning on Memories of the Future by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky. I also have Jansson's Fair Play and Jejuri by Arun Kolatkar checked out from the library, so those should be up next!
I'm reading Ice Trilogy by Vladimir Sorokin, which is quite strange, but intriguing.
Just finished Ice Trilogy, which I found really compelling and thought-provoking.
162: The intro of Hav points this out, with Ursula K. Le Guin stating how travel agencies got calls from curious travelers for booking trips to Hav, despite the fact it doesn't exist. Anthony Bourdain's travel writing have a narrative flair, especially his show "No Reservations." Every place has its own story and he's usually jaunting along with a personal friend and/or regional fixer. Bourdain + Zamir + alcohol = quality TV. Bourdain also wrote a series of food-centric noir novels, so the overlap isn't unique for Jan Morris.
I'm intentionally not reading her essays on Istambul and Venice, because I don't want to take the shine off of Hav. I don't want to "break the fourth wall" just yet. But the similarities are still there: the tart humor, the "traditionalist" perspective (akin to conservatism minus the ideology and pompously hypocritical rhetoric), and the wry amusement at the human condition.
I just finished Alfred and Guinevere, which I liked but didn't love.
Finished Hav by Jan Morris, which I think is going to go on my list of favorite NYRB Classics.
168: I'm enjoying the second part of Hav Morris really nails the menacing middlebrow banality of totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is terrifying because the Official Version of things is so blasted boring and cautious (i.e. catnip for incurious tourists). I love how she compares the political elites of the Office of Ideology to the disciples of apartheid, those out-of-touch, humorless, Calvinist thugs.
Sure, I guess ... I never thought of myself as particularly quotable.
Finished Hav and will get ready to work on a review. An enjoyable book, especially after reading the Epilogue and her travel essays from the 1970s.
174: Cool! I saw a copy in a used bookstore and I had to do a double-take. The lurid subject matter and pulpy pedigree seemed out of sorts for NYRB.
On a similar note, Rogue Male is beckoning, I just have to find a place for it in my giant TBR pile.
My review of Hav:
Thanks to NYRB for the giveaway. I enjoyed it immensely.
#176 agmill Have you read Sorokin's Ice Trilogy? I read it a month or so ago and found it remarkable, if strange.
Recently finished Memoirs of Hecate County, which I found absolutely riveting even as I kept thinking, "there is so much wrong with this," and "he must've been a better critic than a fiction writer". Inasmuch as a lot of it reminded me of John O'Hara, whose work I love, the trashier the better, it was great fun to read.
!80, Well, it goes to show how different opinions can be, since, as I said in my review, the best thing I could say about this book was that I got it at a discounted price. One of the few NYRBs that disappointed me.
Yeah, I actually saw your comment before I started reading, and I was braced to have very low expectations. The whole thing felt more like a curiosity than anything else. And a good period piece, about a period I find fascinating.
Have you read the Levant Trilogy? If you loved the one you'll want to finish out the story with the other.
Yes, that was addressed to you. :)
I was just engrossed with the whole enormous thing, and then I got hold of the TV-series version and watched that, which was quite faithful to the books and beautifully done.
174 - William Lindsay Gresham is an old fav, highly recommended.
Also check out the flick with Tyrone Power as a geek in a carny side-show.
Finished Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker which I liked. I found the main character unsympathetic at first, but was able to understand her more by the end of the book.
187, I definitely want to see the movie now!
188, I read that a while back and didn't really connect with it. I'm glad you enjoyed it though!
I'm reading A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor. I love any book that has me looking through geographical and historical atlases, but this book is so much more than that. What a treasure it is - beautiful book.
Dorothy Baker's Trio, which is out of print, is excellent as well.
I bought and read The Invention of Morel yesterday. What a strange, mysterious little world. I enjoyed it a lot.
Finished A Journey Round My Skull by Frigyes Karinthy, a fascinating story of brain surgery in the 1930's told by a writer who survived having a brain tumor removed.
I've been meaning to read The Thirty Years War for years (but not thirty, yet), but I lent my copy to someone and she never returned it. May have to buy a new one.
I haven't heard of that one, but I've had another NYRB by Khrizhizhanovsky on my TBR for a while,
Thanks for the excellent review kswolff.
I can't wait to read it.
I will definitely look for that, and maybe move Memories of the Future up on my mental TBR.
I'm definitely going to look for that the next time I'm in a bookstore.
Finished The Doll by Brolesław Prus. Everything about it was excellent except the ending which was left open.
I read The Moro Affair by Leonardo Sciascia. It was interesting but a bit abstract at times and I felt it would have been more meaningful if I had more familiarity with the events depicted in the book.
Just finished the completely fascinating, if flawed, To the Finland Station, which has been on my TBR for more than three years!
Now reading Tun-Huang, which has been sitting on TBR Mountain forever.
Now reading The Strangers in the House, which is turning out to be a little odd.. but good.
I know I saw the subscription service and thought about how tempting it is but I also like tracking them down myself.
I have also noticed that two of my favorite independent booksellers now have very nice NYRB displays in their stores which makes it so tempting for me.
Exactly. I love shopping for them & picking out the ones that look interesting to me. I'd worry that they'd send me ones I didn't like, LOL, but then how is that even possible?
#216 I haven't read it myself so don't want to dismiss it out of hand, but I admit to feeling a bit sceptical about Walkabout if its based on the author's conceptions (fantasies?) about Aboriginal culture rather than on any first-hand knowledge.
Couldn't NYRB publish a title by an Australian Aboriginal author?
@PaulDalton. I'm sorry if you got that impression of Walkabout. The situation about the book is rather odd. It was written by a writer named Gordon Payne, who worked from detailed notes by a native Australian, James Vance Marshall (who lived a pretty amazing life, but that's another story). Marshall approved of the book and I believe that it's considered a classic in Australia, showing up on school reading lists there. Authenticity is a sticky question, isn't it?
We welcome suggestions of classic Aboriginal writings.
Authenticity is a sticky question, isn't it?
It presupposes that authenticity itself is authentic.
(Posted elsewhere, but it seemed to fit in this thread, too.)
Poems of the Late T'ang is worth the price of admission for A.C. Graham's witty and informative essay, "The Translation of Chinese Poetry," alone. It is, of course, insightful about Chinese poetry, but no less illuminating about modernist European and American poetry, and poetry in general.
Concerning the textual apparatus that is a necessary part of a collection such as this one, he writes: "How much of this information can a reader be expected to tolerate? Equally important, how much of it will do him any good? There is more literary allusion in early twentieth century English than in T'ang poetry; we can read Eliot with excitement although missing most of his references, and when we look one up often find that it enriches the response disappointingly little." Aware of the limitations of such notes and explanations Graham strikes just the right balance. He does supply notes, and sometimes paraphrases for some (but not all) of the poems, and those he includes are uniformly helpful: they never enrich the response "disappointingly little." Of course, however, the point of this book is the poems, and in the work he has chosen, from seven different poets, Graham shows us how rich and varied the writing of the late T'ang poets was. As with a group of any seven poets, the work of some will be more to one's taste than others, but all the work collected here is worth reading, and much of it worth reading again and again.
#230 It's always difficult with a subject like the one addressed in the book.
Attitudes changes over time and the author would probably write a different book if he were to start over again today.
I went looking for information about James Vance Marshall and found out that he is an English author - real name Donald G.Payne.
Since I haven't read the book, I shouldn't be too prescriptive. I think I'll read it together with my daughter (aged 12) and we can compare views.
I'm halfway through the classic Turkish novel Memed, My Hawk by Yashar Kemal, which was originally published in 1955 and re-translated and re-released by NYRB Classics on its 50th anniversary. I also own the next novel in Kemal's tetralogy about Memed, They Burn the Thistles, which I'll probably read next month.
Grim and cynical sounds interesting.
Check out Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida.
Finished Angel by Elizabeth Taylor. I thought the characterization of the title character was brilliant. If Taylor wrote better books than this, they must be really amazing.
Finished Masscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain by Dwight Macdonald. As the introduction says, the essays belong to a time prior to the 1960's but are still enjoyable to read. I particularly liked Macdonald's take down of the Great Books series.
I just finished Corrigan by Caroline Blackwood. Slyly funny and faintly horrifying. Her usual mix.
If you like Antal Szerb, try Oliver VII. It is quite amusing.
>257 You know, I looked up Szerb originally because you mentioned it on the Virago thread. Glad I did.
'Currently reading Stoner by John Williams, and no, I cannot put down this simple, sad story.
For those who loved 'Paddy' Leigh Fermor's A time of gifts and Between woods and water comes news of the long awaited conclusion .."His publisher John Murray has now announced that it will publish the final volume in 2013, drawing from Leigh Fermor's diary at the time and an early draft of the book he wrote in the 1960s."
Yesterday, in one day-long reading binge, The Pumpkin Eater. Thank you so much for reprinting this one -- it was not only marvelous, but for me personally, the right book at the right time.
Just started Georges Simenon's Tropic Moon, a nice gritty noir for a summer day.
I recently finished the absolutely fascinating Memoirs of a Revolutionary by Victor Serge (and also have loved his three novels published by NYRB).
And I just read The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes; it was so absorbing and filled me with such tension that I woke up up in the middle of the night and felt I had to finish it before I could go back to sleep!
I love Simenon and Hughes. I've read most of both, closing in on
179 for S. !
On a recent vacation with extended family, I read half of A Time of Gifts out loud in the evenings. (My brother-in-law, one of the people who was listening, biked from Istanbul to Dresden a few years ago.) It's an interesting read-aloud book, since it often comes in such overpowering waves of language. We did make fun of the pages-long catalogue of all the poetry he had memorized to recite along the way, though.
#271 Oh, I love love love A Time of Gifts and its sequel Between the Woods and the Water. How interesting to read it out loud, and for your brother-in-law to do that bike trip. I think I'll have to reread them soon.
#270 I also love Troubles. I like it the best of his Empire Trilogy, but others prefer The Siege of Krishnapur.
Finished Ride a Cockhorse by Raymond Kennedy, a good, strange story about a woman who decides one day to take over the bank she works at and succeeds, at least for a while.
Also finished and enjoyed The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes.
>272. I keep finding unexpected similarities between these NYRB Classics and other books I'm reading about the same time. In this case between Troubles and the mother of all moldering old building stories, Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast series.
There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.--Francis Bacon
Just finished The Root and the Flower by L. H. Myers and it seems to bear out what Francis Bacon said. It's a historical trilogy about Mogul India that reminded me vaguely of Gore Vidal's Creation, although it's been a long time since I read Creation so maybe my memory is faulty. I did enjoy The Root and the Flower but like the introduction says it is a "strange masterpiece."
#270: I think of the three I most enjoyed The Singapore Grip, but they were all so entertaining it's hard to rank them ...
I didn't read Farrell's novels consecutive; there were a couple years between each one, and I think I read SG first. Perhaps that's why it delighted me most, because i was new to Farrell. But I loved all of his work, and am sorry there isn't more.
May I ask if there's a recommended order of reading Farrell's trilogy? By date of publication perhaps or chronology of events?
SO enjoyed geeking out at the NYRB booth at today's Brooklyn Book Festival.
If you enjoyed Young Man with a Horn, you might check out Trio by Dorothy Baker. I do not think the description given on Amazon accurately describes the book at all. I would be curious to see what others think. It is out of print at the moment.
Finished The Colour Out of Space: Tales of Cosmic Horror a good selection of stories based mainly on the stories mentioned in H. P. Lovecrafts Supernatural Horror in Literature. (This book seems to have gone out of print.)
I'll see if I can find a copy of Trio. Have you read The Horn by John Clellon Holmes? I recently got a copy but haven't had a chance to read it yet.
Just wandered across here from the Virago group as I seem to be amassing a few more NYRB volumes - and I have *lot* on my wishlist! Anyway, just started Conquered City - which is rather good so far!
kaggsy—wonderful! I know we have quite a bit of overlap, both in readership and in the books themselves with Virago. I love how engaged, large, and passionate the Virago group is and hope some day that we here could approach its level. (To be fair, they have a few years on us!).
#294 I loved Conquered City -- and everything else by Victor Serge that NYRB has published!
295: Thank you! I see that there are a lot of authors in common between the two publishing houses so I think it's inevitable there will be crossover!
296: I am loving Conquered City so far - Serge's descriptions of the city are just amazing. I feel like I am there!
Have finished Conquered City and am knocked out by it - review here:
@ Kaggsy, thanks for the review. And I followed your links to Russian Reading month. I had no idea this was going on, but it's great to know about.
Finished The Other by Thomas Tryon. Somehow I managed not to have read this book until now. I did see the ending coming from early on but I still thought it was a good book.
>289 urania1 I read Trio by Dorothy Baker. I can see the older lesbian lover as psychic vampire theme that is mentioned on Amazon but I also thought Baker did a good job of balancing the characters so none of them seemed particularly better than the others. The younger woman did make a free choice to stay with the older woman in the end.
>298 If you liked Conquered City, you should try White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov if you haven't read it already.
299 - Russian Reading month is proving to be fun - revisiting many old favourites and discovering new.
300 - Thanks for the kind suggestion but I am already a Bulgakov convert - currently preparing to compare the various translations of The Master and Margarita and decide which is best for me!
I'm a big fan of Russian translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, and read their translation of The Master and Margarita -- it's the Penguin edition with this cover. Lots of excellent notes with it too.
And as for following up on Conquered City, you can't go wrong with more Victor Serge! (Available as NYRB editions, I might add).
I'm going to follow that Russian Reading Month link for some ideas, even though I won't read them this month.
Oddly enough, that's the version I have (although with a different cover). However, I'm not sure they are the right translators for me - I have seen several comparisons of passages online from different translations and I'm not convinced they get the sense across best. Currently waiting for other versions to arrive - in particular the O'Connor/Burgin one which is highly recommended and also one by Hugh Aplin. Aplin is turning out to be one of my favourite translators of Russian and seems to have done a surprising amount of volumes! I guess it's a personal thing always, like any reaction to any book.
Dead Souls is another volume with many translators and I'm anxious to hear what other readers have thought of the new NYRB edition.
That's interesting about the translators. Do you read Russian? Is that how you can tell which translator you like best? I did read one book translated by Aplin, Dark Avenues by Ivan Bunin, but I didn't like the book itself much so I can't really evaluate the translation.
By the way, I've just started the NYRB edition of Happy Moscow by Andrey Platonov, whose other works have fascinated me, especially The Foundation Pit.
I don't read Russian, alas - wish I had the time and energy to learn! But the comparisons I've looked at on some blogs have been quite instructive and the passages they've chosen have had very different structures in each translation - some not even making the meaning clear! I think the translators I like best bring the books alive for me and give the author a consistent voice - William Weaver's translations of Italo Calvino spring to mind as having a clarity and a consistency. I want to feel that the author's voice is being allowed to come through.
I hope you enjoy Happy Moscow - I have read some Platonov and liked it very much.
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