There is something optimistic about turning that page on my wall calendar. A new month, a new reading woman, a new season (spring is less than three weeks away!), and even longer days with the time change this coming weekend. Best yet, we are even forecast much milder temperatures by the end of the week. Of course today promises to be slightly miserable with rain and sleet and snow, but there is still a light at the end of the tunnel. It always makes me feel hopeful when I have something nice to look forward to, and new books to read are about as nice as you can get.
I've got three 'new' books to add to my reading pile and a few other potential March reads if the mood arises (and I suspect it will). I'm still chipping away at my current reads but as I have finished a few books I've got a few new ones to take their places.
Since we managed to get through A Clockwork Orange, Stefanie and I will be reading Simone Schwarz-Bart's The Bridge of Beyond together next. This is a NYRB Classics subscription book from 2013. I actually did quite well in my reading of these books that year and I suspect it was helpful having a reading buddy. Stefanie also subscribed that year, but the Schwarz-Bart is a book neither of us managed to read. I have heard many good things about it. It is a story of mothers and daughters set on the French Antillean island of Guadeloupe. It's translated from French and I'll start reading this week.
Next up for my class is Dolly City by Orly Castel-Blum. For someone who is a self-confessed non-lover of modernist literature I am getting my share of it at the moment. This is a Dalkey Archive book, if that tells you anything. The author Djuna Barnes is on their homepage (one of several authors)--Hah! I swear I AM going to read Djuna Barnes this year. I don't know when, but at some point I am going to read her and appreciate her writing. I may read her alongside, say, Mary Stewart, but I feel like it is a little challenge I must take up.
But first Dolly City. Le Monde says in reference to this book--"Kafka has finally arrived in Tel Aviv". What does tell you? The novel is a satire of war. She is one of "Israel's most provocative and original writers". If all else fails I will simply read whichever excerpts my professor requests that we read for discussion, but I really do want to try and read all the books on the list, and this one is only 166 pages. Surely I can do it? It is translated from Hebrew. Of the dozen books I have read so far this year four have been translated works (two from Hebrew, one from Japanese and one from Italian). I am making a concerted effort this year to read more books in translation and I feel like I am off to a good start.
Caroline is doing an abbreviated Literature and War Readalong this year. The first book of four is Kim Echlin's The Disappeared for discussion later this month. Echlin is a Canadian writer and The Disappeared was short-listed for the Giller Prize in 2009 and longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. It has received lots of good reviews, so I am looking forward to reading it. It is set in Montreal and war-torn Cambodia.
I've decided to pull a Virago off my shelves and am, at the moment, leaning towards Vita Sackville-West's All Passion Spent. Or maybe No Signposts in the Sea. Or maybe one of her other novels. I'm still thinking about it. Has anyone read her and can recommend a favorite?
I'm making steady progress with my other books which I've been reading this year and hope to finish a couple more this week. In honor of March and St. Patrick's Day (any good excuse to add a new book to the reading pile, right?) I think I will pick up one or two shorter novels by Irish writers. Maybe William Trevor or Maeve Brennan. Perhaps a novella or some short stories by Claire Keegan. I've got a good that is calling out to me by Claire Kilroy that is a mixture of thriller and meditation on the arts. Lots of good books to choose from but I will just see where my reading takes me this month.
What's on your night stand right now?