What are you reading this summer?
Posted 03 June 2003 - 08:58 AM
Posted 03 June 2003 - 09:02 AM
Posted 03 June 2003 - 09:08 AM
looking forward to the Harry Potter book.
Posted 03 June 2003 - 09:43 AM
Oh, Alexandra, I can't tell you how many times I've tried to read The Ambassadors. Like you and your classmates, I really did try. But I couldn't get past the first page, even when I'd passed 40. The last time I actually made it to the second page, but that's as far as I got.
Originally posted by Alexandra
We . . . could not get through "The Ambassadors." We tried. We really did try. And he finally gave up -- he loved James -- and said, "Okay, you're right. You're too young. You've got to promise that you'll read it when you're 40.")
I find James's earlier novels and novellas easier reading than his dense later works. The Americans, The Europeans, The Aspern Papers, Washington Square, are all manageable and even interesting. The turning point was Portrait of a Lady, I think. It's a great novel, I've read it twice, but I can't seem to get past it.
I'm surprised you all hated Wharton. I read The Age of Innocence and (my favorite) The House of Mirth when I was in my teens and loved them. Ethan Frome is pretty dull, though, and they often seem to inflict it on students, probably because it's short.
Posted 03 June 2003 - 09:53 AM
Ari, I don't like James' later works much, either--and neither did Edith Wharton!
I'm afraid my reading this summer is going to consist mostly of social psychology textbooks and course catalogs.
Posted 03 June 2003 - 10:00 AM
I haven't tried "Ethan Frome" again. I started with "Old New York" -- four novellas -- and enjoyed them; next is "Age of Innocence." I'm almost finished James's "Washington Square." Don't love it, don't hate it.
I'd forgotten that I still have books leftover from last summer, popular fiction, "Atonement" and "The Lovely Bones" among others. I got "The DaVinci Code" from Book of the Month, and I know this is childish, but it's such a terrible edition -- cheap cheap paper, print that rubs off in your hands, tiny pages -- that there is no pleasure reading it. I'd rather have a paperback.
Posted 03 June 2003 - 10:26 AM
Meanwhile, I'm patching up my science fiction knowledge by reading old classics I have missed for some reason. I just finished Frederik Pohl's "Gateway", and it was indeed briliant. It showed that really good sf doesn't get old even when the science and speculative history becomes impossible in the world we now know.
Work requires reading, too, but I haven't compiled a list of necessary reading yet.
Posted 03 June 2003 - 11:16 AM
Posted 03 June 2003 - 11:54 AM
And, this will tell you how long it takes me to get around to reading books instead of the newspapers and magazines that clutter my life, I plan to read other novels by the author I raved about in last year's version of this thread: Ian McEwan. I read "Atonement" last year and can't recommend it highly enough -- it's in paperback now. The story is about a British family, in between the two world wars, and turns on a misperceived incident one summer night that ends up having devastating consequences. The writing is just sweepingly beautiful and the story will haunt your imagination for a long time. I'm trying to decide which of McEwan's other novels I'll pick up next -- any suggestions? "Amsterdam?" "Comfort of Strangers?"
Posted 03 June 2003 - 12:04 PM
My perennial summer guilt trip of the intellect is Joyce's Ulysses with gun and guidebook. Have never managed to get very far into that beautiful and terrifying jungle - I think I will have to take a course to complete it.
Posted 03 June 2003 - 12:25 PM
I plan on reading a couple of new novels given to me by a friend in publishing. They are "The Photograph," by Penelope Lively, and "River Season," by Jim Black. I also intend to reread Giuseppe di Lampedusa's great novel, "The Leopard," which I do every few years. Unhappily, the magificent Visconti film made from it, starring Burt Lancaster, has never been available on video.
Posted 03 June 2003 - 02:39 PM
Current reading: "The Dead of Jericho" by Colin Dexter. Dexter has written a number of detective novels centered around Oxford---more the town than the university. The protagonist is a very dour Detective Inspector named Morse who loves Mozart and Wagner. This is the fourth or fifth of them I have read.
"Coming of Age as a Poet" by Helen Vendler. She is a prof at Harvard but writes very accessibly--she publishes both in scholarly journals and also in the New York Review of Books. She write better about poetry than anyone I can think of.
I have just finished her book on Seamus Heaney and am using it as a partial guide back into the poetry of Heaney. I am reading "Opened Ground", which is selected poetry of his with an emphasis on works since 1987.
"Life on the Mississippi" by Mark Twain, a book I read and savor every five years or so--it seems time to read it again.
I recently finished "On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace" by Donald Kagan. He has a new book out, "The Peloponnesian War", which is a revision and distillation of his four volume work on the same war. I keep walking past it in bookstores, knowing I will buy it at some point.
Posted 03 June 2003 - 02:51 PM
Posted 03 June 2003 - 04:07 PM
Posted 03 June 2003 - 06:02 PM
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