Wednesday reading: Twice in a row!
I might even keep this up!
What have you recently finished reading?
I’ve been pretty busy with work over the last week, so I haven’t been reading much. However I did finish Dirty Havana Trilogy by Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, which I found simultaneously brilliant and kind of horrifying (sex! So much sex! So much of it a little bit rapey!). Gutiérrez has a matter-of-fact writing style that I really admire, with flashes of very evocative lyricism – for example, “We were quiet, listening to the little waves whispering against the reefs along the coast and looking out at the black sky and the black sea rushing in and running out. We were submerged in it all: the immense darkness like a distant abyss and the limpid murmur of the water at our feet. I was empty inside, and that black abyss and the whisper of the waves washed straight through me.” And from an anthropological point of view, it was a very interesting insight into Cuban life in the 1990s.
What are you reading now?
I remain partway through a number of different things, but the book that has really grabbed me is Caroline Knapp’s Drinking: A Love Story, which I ordered through Abebooks and started on yesterday. I have a mild fascination with books about alcoholism and addiction in general, and Knapp writes very engagingly. It’s also extremely (and sometimes disturbingly) relatable – I am not an alcoholic, but there are elements of a kind of Modern Female Malaise that she describes, which are very familiar to me.
What will you read next?
Well, I will be leaving my flat on Saturday (woe!), not to return until September at the earliest and possibly not until next year, which means that I have a very small window in which to cram hardcopy reading, as I am not going to schlepp a load of books to Cairo with me, especially given my ridiculous Kindle backlog. So depending on when I finish Drinking: A Love Story I will probably either try and squeeze in Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (another Abebooks purchase), or finish off Andrei Makine’s Requiem for the East, which I managed to track down and which I need to return to my mother anyway. Or, knowing me, something else entirely.
Books recently acquired:
In addition to the Abebooks purchases I mentioned above, my other Abebooks orders arrived: Cairo: My City, Our Revolution by Ahdaf Soueif, At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill, and The Charioteer by Mary Renault. In a Durham charity shop yesterday (egged on by my friend C. – THANKS C.) I bought The Crazed by Ha Jin and Darkmans by Nicola Barker (which I’d never heard of, despite it sounding like it’s right up my alley). And then on Kindle I have bought Kiss of the Butterfly by James Lyon (on the recommendation of my friend Nicholas), and The Reason I Jump bu Naoki Higashida, and The Folded Man by Matt Hill, and Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers (the latter because everyone I know seems to love it and yet I have never read any Sayers).
Unread books owned:
On Kindle: 256. Note to self: this number shouldn’t be going up! (However it has not been helped by the fact that my Kindle screen died – AGAIN – over the weekend so I haven’t been able to use it. Once I have a functioning e-reader AND I am away from actual physical books, this number should start moving in the right direction again.)
In hardcopy: Still no idea. But it’s seven more than last week. (Sigh.)