My desire for bookish conversations here has definitely returned, but the time and energy my job demands does not always permit full engagement. I am determined to strike a better balance, and keep reading away if not always posting, content with 140 character commentary most days. And I continue to compile new piles for group reads. Optimist that I am.
For example, please direct your attention to my pile of doom above. For a group read through the end of the year, The 2015 Argentinean (& Algerian) Literature(s) of Doom, hosted by the ever so sharp and amusing Richard, is back this year for another dive into the literature of Argentina with Algeria thrown in for good measure this time around. I believe that this all started with Tom coming across Roberto Bolano calling Argentine literature a "literature of doom." And Richard, ever drawn to the seductiveness of doom, turned this finding into an annual event. Never too late to join in if this appeals. After hearing Andres Neuman at the National Book Festival this year, and picking up three of his books, this seemed an easy and appealing opportunity.
One of my most interesting reading experiences lately was reading two novels back to back that I would say the authors composed with wild abandon. Let me explain. I enjoyed both On the Edge by Edward St. Aubyn and Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie. For different reasons. But both dove in with such admirable dismissal of the expected that I was startled to find two such books in my hands in a row. The St. Aubyn is lethal, deadpan satire of the US some years back as it embraced the "New Age" movement. Hilarious but so unenthralled with humanity in general that one suspects something is amiss. No holds barred throughout. Great fun on the whole but like the end of any over-the-top party, as I sobered up from the ingestion of all it had to offer, I was more than willing to exit when it was over. And the Rushdie book runneth over with the author's unrestrained imagination in such an exuberant way that I was willing to overlook what I thought of as shortcuts in the telling of his tale. Enjoyed them both and was wonderfully surprised at the gusto of both storytellers. I know I'm short on details of both, but what really struck me was the ride not the content. I keep wondering if huge talent or huge ego or both drive this type of confidence in writing.
And lastly, like all grown-ups, I love Halloween and always keep some type of scary read around this time of year. Ghostly, edited, illustrated and introduced by Audrey Niffenegger, is a collection of short stories from "Edgar Allen Poe to Kelly Link, M.R. James to Neil Gaiman, H. H. Munro to Audrey Niffenegger herself. Ghostly reveals the evolution of the ghost story genre with tales going back to the eighteenth century and into the modern era, ranging across styles from Gothic Horror to Victorian, with a particular bent toward stories about haunting—haunted children, animals, houses." Perfect to dip in and out of this October. Every selection has been spot-on creepy and wonderful so far. And the design is gorgeous.
In addition to all this, I am finishing my first two books from Patrick Modiano this week. What's in your reading stack right now?