Bring on the weekend as I have lots and lots of really good books on the go and I want to spend as much time with them as I can. The thing about having several (though I might have a few more than several to be honest . . .) books in progress is the dilemma of which to pick up and spend time with. Of course the up side is, whichever I do end up choosing I am likely to be happily immersed in for as long as I can spend with the story. The weather is going to be so gorgeous here that I will have to take my stack of books outside to enjoy on the porch. What more can I ask for, book in hand and sun on my face. And I was wondering if winter would ever end.
I should start with class reading. We will be discussing Dolly City by Orly Castel-Bloom soon. I'm not quite sure what I think of it. It's the sort of story where it's best to let all preconceptions of what a story should be like go, and to suspend belief of what can and cannot happen in the real world. This is a story is thought provoking on a variety of levels, but is perhaps not a warm fuzzy book you can curl up with, if you know what I mean. It's short. Should I admit that I am happy about that? I find that when I am reading it I approach it with a certain fascination and I do find myself strangely curious about it, yet I am not compelled to reach for it when I want to spend time with a book.
This week in class we didn't have a book to discuss, rather we watched some contemporary Israeli TV shows. We're studying 'alternate' groups within Israeli society. We recently read Sayed Kashua's excellent novel about Arab-Israelis, and this week discussed religious communities. Israel is a mostly secular country but there are segments of society that are more religious and even Orthodox Jewish. The TV series Srugim (the word refers to the knitted caps religious Jewish men wear) ran for three seasons (not sure if it is still on the air there) and was immensely popular. It is a romantic drama revolving around a group of young Israelis trying to meet and date within a religious environment. I found it fascinating (particularly so since I know so little about the Jewish faith really) and plan on continuing to watch the series as it streams from Amazon. We also watched Shtisel, which is a family name. This is another drama that deals with an ultra orthodox Jewish family, which is now in its second season in Israel. It doesn't appear to be streaming but I hope to get my hands on the DVD of season one. I always think I have a pretty wide world-view but the more I learn and see and discuss the more I realize how little I really know. What am I going to do when my class ends . . .
Yay, this week's New Yorker story (my copy came yesterday and I have already been perusing it happily) is by Sarah Braunstein a new to me author, but better yet a woman author. I'm looking forward to the story. The issue also has a long article on the Gerry Adams and the IRA which looks interesting as well as a story on the Warburg Library. I'm guessing the IRA story is just in time for St. Patrick's Day.
Which makes for the perfect segue into my Irish reading. This weekend's Infinite Riches short story is by Nell Dunn is quite short, so I am hoping that I will have time to read more of Claire Keegan's stories from Walk the Blue Fields. I also have a novella by her, Foster, which I might try. We'll see where my short story reading takes me.
And I have finally decided on a novel by an Irish writer with an Irish setting, which I started yesterday. Drum roll, please . . . Colm Toibin's Nora Webster promises to be a very good read, I think. After much hemming and hawing I made myself just choose one. From the very start it has grabbed me, so I think it was a good choice. Nora seems quite interesting--a widow with four children who you can tell is fed up with all the helpful neighbors who want to give their condolences and she must just put on a 'happy to receive your visit and well-meaning respects' but she mostly just wants to be left alone. And Colm Toibin is indeed a very good writer.
Interestingly I am also reading about another widow, Lady Slane from Vita Sackville-West's All Passion Spent. Another intriguing woman who I am happy to read about and spend time with. A woman who has finally found her independence and hopefully some real happiness and contentment. I will be spending time with her this weekend, too, I hope.
If there is any time left over (I always think big when it comes to books and reading) I will probably be spending it with Station Eleven and maybe with C.J. Sansom's Dominion (so good, but such a hefty book) or maybe Laura Lippman's Baltimore Blues. Of course anything on my sidebar is up for grabs.
More reading time please.
I hope you have a sunny weekend, too, and one filled with good books!