Lately it seems as though I start a book and find another one pops in my head that would make a perfect companion read--it is either written in a similar vein or an interesting counterpoint or an alternate view. I am always so very tempted to reach for that other book and in a few cases I will or hope to do just that!
First, I must say thanks to all who commented on Henry Green and you are all correct--best to just dive in and let the rhythm take over. I am getting used to his writing style and have to say I am sort of liking how he left out or collapsed all those definite articles. It does create an interesting sort of cadence to the prose and his dialogue is very captivating! I am finding now that I have gotten into the story a bit (I did look up some criticism to help guide me a little in terms of characters and what to expect from plot--which is sort of not a lot, but I am happy to know that ahead of time) I am looking forward to reaching for the book rather that looking at it a little warily. (I think I even want to go back and buy his first book . . . and all the others now, too).
Somewhere in my reading it was mentioned that Evelyn Waugh's, Green's contemporary (and an admirer of Green's work) Vile Bodies was written at about the same time as Living and offers another satirical look at, in this case, London Society, though Green's Living is a glimpse at the working class. In any case I would love to read more Waugh and I think he would make a good companion author.
And then there is the Baileys longlisted The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride. She won the 2014 Baileys Prize. I think I want to give her new book a go (even had it not been longlisted I was intrigued by the story). Since she also has an unusual (challenging?) prose style, but since I am reading Henry Green, maybe she will make his prose look straightforward in comparison. Bohemians is set in 1990s London against the theatre world.
Also on the Baileys longlist is Margaret Atwood's Hag-Seed, which is a reimagining of Shakespeare's The Tempest. It just makes sense to read the play first, so I bought a copy of the (No Fear Shakespeare series, which has the play side by side with common language) The Tempest and have the children's classic Tales from Shakespeare by Charles Lamb, which has many of the plays (including Tempest) written on an easy, entertaining level for children as an introduction (and I am all for that!).
Already planned, but temporarily put on hold, is Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Mrs. Dalloway's Party. I am still waiting for my copy of the Mrs. Dalloway Reader to show up, so maybe just as well to hold off at the moment (Henry Green and Eimear McBride is more than enough to keep me busy at the moment).
And lastly two wonderful and recently acquired books that sound like great fun and which I can't wait to get to. Have you heard about either (or both) of these books? I keep seeing them pop up and had to have them--they are holiday gift card splurges. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney is a novel inspired by Macy's highest paid advertising woman in the 1930s. "A love letter to city life in all its guts and grandeur, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop." Lillian is a "feisty flâneuse"!
So, it seems a perfect match of a story for Lauren Elkin's Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London. Part cultural meander, part memoir, Flâneuse takes us on a distinctly cosmopolitan jaunt that begins in New York, where Elkin grew up, and transports us to Paris via Venice, Tokyo, and London, all cities in which she’s lived. We are shown the paths beaten by such flâneuses as the cross-dressing nineteenth-century novelist George Sand, the Parisian artist Sophie Calle, the wartime correspondent Martha Gellhorn, and the writer Jean Rhys. With tenacity and insight, Elkin creates a mosaic of what urban settings have meant to women, charting through literature, art, history, and film the sometimes exhilarating, sometimes fraught relationship that women have with the metropolis.
Somehow these last two feel like vacation reads. Warmer weather reads, so I can go out and enjoy the city, too! Books for walkers, right up my alley!
See how easily one book leads to another. (And sometimes another, and another . . .).