What I’ve been reading

1. Daniel Kehlmann, Measuring the World.  A best-seller and critical rave in Germany, but it is dull.  Did it succeed because Germans are overreacting to a "normal" (read: non-Nazi) novel about their history?

2. Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic, by Esther Perel.  This is the most dangerous book I read this year.  The main thesis is you keep your sex life alive through anger/arousel and distance, not intimacy.  Here is a review

3. Kathryn Davis, The Thin Place: A Novel.  She is a consistently intriguing writer who finally wrote her breakthrough book; one of the best-reviewed novels of 2006.

4. Alice Munro, The View from Castle Rock: Stories.  I’ll put her with early Pynchon, Coetzee, Rushdie, Saramago, Sebald, and Pamuk.  A wonderful collection, but read this "roots approach" last, not first.  You might start here instead, be ready for lots of Ontario.  A big dose of her is the easiest way to make Philip Roth look overrated.

5. Javier Marias, Your Face Tomorrow: Fever and Spear.  Spain’s best-known current writer, but ignored by Anglos.  Here is a good article on him.  The English-language translation is first-rate, but the story doesn’t click with me.

6. Pessimism: Philosophy, Ethic, Spirit, by Joshua Foa Dienstag, interesting from beginning to end: "Freedom for the pessimists is not merely a status but an
experience that a time-bound person can aspire to through a certain
approach to life.  As I will elaborate later, the pessimists have
tended to see this approach exemplified in questing figures like
Columbus or Don Quixote."


Comments for this post are closed