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Summer reading

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With my Masters course drawing to a close, I’m up to my neck in reading for my dissertation. There’s also the small matter of 15,000 new words of prose to hand in. Meanwhile the piles of books I’m longing to get my teeth into are springing up around the flat faster than Chinese skyscrapers. The cream of the crop:

Complete Stories, Flannery O’Connor – I’ve read and loved a couple of her most famous stories, and my best mate has been raving about her for ages.

The Captain’s Verses, Pablo Neruda – A beautiful gift from the boy, awaiting the perfect summer evening when we can stretch out on an island shore and he can recite the original to me in Spanish and feed me grapes. Peeled grapes.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald – Yes, am last person in the world to read it. Upcoming film now forcing my hand.

A Book of Secrets, Michael Holroyd – Described on the flyleaf as ‘a treasure trove of hidden lives, uncelebrated achievements and family mysteries… bringing a company of unknown women into the light’. The mix of famous figures and illegitimate daughters set against early twentieth-century Paris and Amalfi is intriguing, and bizarrely apt background reading for my novel-in-progress.

Body Parts: Essays on Life Writing, Hermione Lee – This will be my third reading of this book. I find the different approaches to life writing fascinating (so much so I’m writing my dissertation about several of them) and for me Lee is the ultimate biographer and critic on the subject. Cogent, lucid and imaginative, it’s a great collection to dip into.

The Paris Review Interviews, Vol. 4 – I’m addicted to these books: there’s no better insight into the processes and truths of writing, as revealed by the greatest authors of the last century. This volume transcribes the wise and funny words of Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, Jack Kerouac, Philip Roth, V.S. Naipaul (oh well, you can’t have everything) and Marilynne Robinson among many others. Procrastinators: beware.

Girl Reading, Katie Ward – I’m yet to buy my copy of this highly acclaimed debut, but I can’t wait. The concept alone is enough to hook me. Oddly enough, I found a print of Winslow Homer’s painting The New Novel a few months ago, and determined to collect more images of girls reading, to adorn the shelves of the gigantic library I will one day own. The library that will display the constantly multiplying books currently threatening to take over the flat. Fingers crossed.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 10/06/2011 11:21

    A diverse and fascinating list, illustrating that we all have classics to read. The Great Gatsby is one of my all time favourites so I always smile when I hear of a reader about to embark on its discovery.

    I am currently being charmed with ‘Girl Reading’ by Katie Ward, which is nothing like I expected. It is a character study of the human desire to be acknowledged and noticed. Spanning the centuries, it is an ambitious novel that rewards the reading eye.

  2. 26/06/2011 20:47

    Hello, nice to find your blog! I read the Flannery O’Connor, blew my mind, I don’t know why I hadn’t read her stories before. And I too am addicted to the Paris Review interviews, I signed up for a 5 year sub to the mag just to get all 4 volumes free…Happy reading!

    • 26/06/2011 22:46

      Hi Tania, thanks for stopping by! Still haven’t started on Flannery, but finished my dissertation reading now so this could be the week…

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