Sunday, January 31, 2016

Recent Readings

Winter comes and along with it a desire to read comic books. Graphic novels, I suppose I could say, since what I'm reading is solidly bound and available in all your finer bookstores and libraries. But really, they're comic books.

Rereading an old classic, the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman:
We have some of the volumes in the original editions,
but I'm filling in our collection with this new reprinting.
And I've discovered what I think will be a new classic, Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples:
He also wrote Y: The Last Man, which we also have. 
The boys are used to plundering The Dude's collection; he has an extensive collection of both the classic and new renditions of familiar characters (Batman, Superman, The X-Men, Legion of Superheros, etc., etc.). I think he's set aside certain volumes he doesn't want them stumbling on. My collection, however, is pretty much only stories I don't want them stumbling on. Of course, D was so intrigued just to see me reading a comic book that I suspect he'll do his damnedest to get his hands on them. Perhaps a locked bookshelf?

It hasn't been all comic books this season, I've had a rich fiction run as well.

I'm continuing in my quest to read everything by Haruki Murakami: After the Quake, Hear the Wind Sing, and Pinball 1973 are the ones I finished this fall and I'm currently reading Kafka on the Shore. I had vaguely been trying to read them in order but I think I've given that up.

I've found a new author whose works I'm so in love with I will probably also try to read them all, poetry and prose: Chris Abani. He's given a couple of TED talks and here is one of them. I then discovered that he's currently teaching at Northwestern University, just north of Chicago in Evanston, which made me think that maybe he'll give some lectures in the city sometime; sure enough, he's speaking at the main library in April and I've already extracted a promise from the family that I can take that day off to go listen and then stand in line for a very long time to have a book signed. The question of course is which book? I own a number of them now and have read Song for Night (a novella) and Sanctificum (poems).

I read Ruth Ozeki's novel, A Tale for the Time Being. Finally a new one! I also read Jonathan Franzen's latest, Purity. Both of these I just wanted to keep reading forever. Except that then I wouldn't get to read anything else. And then various books on writing or creativity: Annie Dillard, Steven King, Dorothy Allison, Elizabeth Gilbert, Steven Pressfield, and Richard Rhodes, among others. By the way, when I mention authors or books here, it's only those that I really thought worthwhile and would recommend, I don't bother listing books I wasn't excited by.

In the middle of my scary movie/book month I also read Ta'Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me. I think this is pretty much required reading for any white person in the United States. That is, of course, if you actually want to be part of making things better in the world rather than just coasting by.

Oh, and I finally finished Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour by Lynne Olson. A fascinating book, lots of information I hadn't been aware of, and despite the seemingly uplifting title, also kind of another indictment of America, in documenting how long it took for America to enter the war, how much we dragged our feet in becoming fully engaged once we did, and then how we behaved with our Allies once it was clear that the war was being won. The individual troops may rightly be called "The Greatest Generation" as they are referred to in this country, but our government, not so much.

Now on to read some more.



  1. So if you were to pick one, just one book for me to read of the ones listed on this post, which one would you pick?

    1. Wow, thinking about this made me realize that I didn't give any information about the books here... may need to do a part 2. It so depends on what you're interested in! But my gut choice for you would be the Ruth Ozeki, I think you would find it interesting for the moving back and forth between the US and Japan, and back in forth in time.