Reading this week

November 9, 2007 at 8:51 pm (Reading) (, , )

This week, I have managed to get hold of two books that I’m very excited about. The first is Lloyd Jones’ Booker shortlisted Mister Pip, which I’m saving for a gorgeous uninterrupted Saturday.

The second is Siri Hustvedt’s The Sorrows of an American, out in hardback in May next year. This book is just beautiful. I’m halfway through and I’m torn between wanting to read it every second of the day (to the point that I was reading it in one hand while I stirred paesotto for dinner last night) and never wanting it to end. I think what I love about the novel is that it’s so flawed – the characters, whilst being achingly human in their reactions and thoughts, just don’t speak like real people. The dialogue is stilted and the narrative voice is unrealistic, but this just adds to the characterisation of beautiful, intelligent, damaged individuals. I also love the envious glances that I’m receiving on the tube as people notice what I’m reading…

I’d love to hear what you’re reading.



  1. Joelle said,

    I’m stuggling my way through Iain Sinclair’s White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings. I really like the idea of Iain Sinclair, all pyschogeography and layerings of history over London. I do love reading books set in places I know, particularly in the past. But the book isn’t really working for me. It has just too many words somehow, I have to really concentrate even to follow events, and the conversations don’t sound right. Everyone talks in the same wordy way that the narrative is written in. I may do better if I sat down with it in the quiet at home rather than on the bus I guess.

    Last night I went on a walking tour round Wapping, hearing about the history of the street names and the docks, and tales of the C19th serial killers buried beneath the cross roads. The weather was cold and crisp, and we ended up in a cosy room at the ancient Prospect of Whitby pub. The evening was exactly what I want from Iain Sinclair, but not what I’m getting.

  2. inkandkeys said,

    Hmm, I’ve not read any Iain Sinclair, but I can imagine that unnecessarily wordy prose can be quite off-putting, especially if all the characters spoke in the same voice – that must be unrealistic.

  3. Swithun said,

    I am reading about 8 things like always. The most interesting of these are

    The Drowned Book by Sean O’Brien. Even though it is by Sean O’Brien I have elected to read it. I am doing so slowly, because he is smart and I am not, and each poem takes a while for me to really digest (note I say digest, not understand).

    Oryx and Crake. Because it is good and Margaret Atwood is made of talent.

    Sonechka by Ludmila Ulitskaya. Russian novelist who is not Dostoevsky. Sonechka is actually a novel and 2 short stories, all of which are about women born in the early/mid 20th century in Russia who don’t fit in with society, are pitied for their physical appearances, and each follows their life story as they do surprising things – raise a Down’s Syndrome child enough to make her independent, live alongside her husband’s mistress and look after her when the husband dies etc. They are written very starkly, without many adjectives, and the author doesn’t spend her time writing emotionally about the characters but manages to make you feel your own sympathies for them by the end of each one’s life.

    I just reviewed Pleading Guilty by Paul Genney. I actually found it really hard to get on with because the anti-hero was a bit too anti and not enough hero. Snobbish misogynists ahoy!

  4. inkandkeys said,

    Ooh, can I borrow Sonechka when you’re done?

  5. Mo said,

    I am re-reading ‘I Capture the Castle’ for book group and getting worried that I’m running out of books in the house. I’m desperate for new book-fodder! I’m also reading the Dramatist magazine with many debates on being a playwright and woman simultaneously. I can’t decide if I like the debates or find them pretentious.

  6. inkandkeys said,

    Does LA have public libraries? Are they just as rubbish as the ones in the UK? I joined Brixton library, but it was full of crime novels and chick lit. Mikey says that public libraries should have all recently published novels, as they get sent them free, but they throw them away and only display popular books. Isn’t that disgusting?

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