I, very optimistically, thought I would be writing about Kafka's Metamorphosis today, but I'm afraid I'm just starting it. I did recently listen to the story on audio, though it was a little disjointed and I was at times distracted, so reading it will be a good thing. And hopefully reading it closely. I am not sure what I was expecting, but the story was not really what I imagined it would be. You might already have read it, or know more or less what the story is about--one morning Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman who lives with his parents and sister, wakes up to find that he has been changed from a man into a large monstrous insect. I've checked out from the library the Norton Critical Edition of the book in order to read a little criticism alongside the text. Elias Canetti considered the story "perfection" and called it Kafka's best work--that nothing else he wrote could surpass it. I'm curious to learn why.
My Christa Wolf reading continues. I'm still trying to keep up with reading one entry a day, though I think I will have to step things up just a bit if I want to try and finish by the end of the month. More optimistic thinking, but you never know. I also have a biography I am hoping to dip into over the weekend. I think knowing a little more about her would only make my reading experience richer in this case.
I've just barely started reading Hans Keilson's The Death of the Adversary. It's going to be my gym book, which means it'll get an hour of my undivided attention most days, and from what little I've read so far, I think it is the sort of book that calls for a little steady reading (I'm notorious for trying to squeeze in a little reading of a lot of books whenever I can--no matter how short the length of time!). I've seen this book called a classic, a stimulating read, and "a profoundly affecting exploration of the inextricable nature of love and hate, friend and enemy."
And for something a little different--"lighter" if you will, I've been listening to Nele Neuhaus's Snow White Must Die on my MP3 player. I've been listening to it on my walk home from work. The story begins with a man being released from jail after spending more than a decade incarcerated for the murders of two young women. In another thread of the story the body of a young woman has been found in a storage container that was buried in an abandoned building. And then a spooky scene--an unnamed man appears to be keeping the embalmed (?) body of a woman (reminiscent of Sleeping Beauty . . .), who he likes to come visit. I have a feeling this is not going to be a terribly highbrow sort of story, but it is an absorbing one that certainly passes those fifteen or twenty minutes during my evening walk.
I mentioned those tiny books published by Readux Books? Three of them have been translated from German. I am going to start with In Berlin: Day and Night in 1929 by Franz Hessel. The book includes two brief essays about the city of Berlin as viewed by a "flaneur" (I think I understand what that means but will be looking it up). I've also got The Marvel of Biographical Bookkeeping by Francis Nenik, which is "a formally innovative book" that explores the life stories of two poets. City of Rumor by Gideon Lewis-Kraus a "thought-provoking essay explores the ways in which we are burdened and freed by our environments in general, and why Berlin demands our attention again and again." The longest of the three is a mere 60 pages, so they should be easy to incorporate into my reading.
I've added a couple of "just in case" books to my pile. You never know when/if the urge will arise to pick up another book entirely. Léon & Louise by Alex Capus is set at the end of WWI about two lovers separated by war and then circumstance. I'm eager to read Viola Roggenkamp's The Spectacle Salesman's Family, which is set in post-WWII Hamburg about a Jewish family.
It's going to be a busy reading weekend. You can see which books will be keeping me occupied!