Tuesday, July 8

What I'm Reading

I've hit a reading sweet spot recently, after a long stretch of nothing but dull & tedious books. Every book I pick up lately feels new, revolutionary, relevant to my life, and beautiful. It's pretty damn satisfying, as you might imagine. So let me pass along some recommendations to you:

1. Dawn Powell. This doesn't happen often, but I'm ready to just call her a favorite author, based on having read just one of her books, Angels on Toast. I wanted to show you a snippet of what makes the book so pitch perfect, from the dialog, to the characterization, to the situations, to the period era details. (I'll assume those are correct.) Flipping through random pages of the book, looking for a good chunk to show you, I found myself rereading instead of selecting a blurb. Here's one:
The Olivers started their fight at a brisk tempo at four-thirty--the hour when Flo had summoned Jay to Marshall Field's for ominous reasons--but by six-thirty they were running out of material and on the ride to the Donovans it looked as if there would be no photofinish at all, merely whimpers and "Oh, is that so?"s, and "That's what you thinks!"s, and "Oh, for crying out loud!"s. As the Donovan house hove into view there was one brief moment of complete rapport when both Olivers joined in a vast rage at the Donovans and a mutual silent vow to get stinking as fast as possible.
2. Linda's new (first) blog. If you know Linda, this blog is just what you might expect: funny, quirky, weird, obsessive, and with great taste in music. If you don't know Linda, please enjoy the near-knowing that is reading her words.

3. Other books I am currently reading / have just finished: Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth. (Did you hear that she was just flat out given a prize for best short story collection of the year without even a pretense of a short-list? The prize committee was either overwhelmed with the wonderful, or didn't feel like reading shorts on the beach.)

BUtterfield 8 (John O'Hara): also amazing. I'm trying to read as slowly as possible. Whenever I read things that take place during prohibition, I get nervous that if I'd lived back then, I wouldn't be let into any of the secret speakeasies for drinking. I picture myself wandering the city, peering in random windows, uttering random words in the hopes that they were the secret password. Let's all take a moment to be grateful to easily accessible dive bars.

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