I finished J and Stone Mattress last week; I don't know quite what to make of J and I really want to talk to others who've read it. Have you? What did you think? I really admire Howard Jacobson for being different and doing unusual things, and I want to like it but I'm not sure if I liked it or not. It's very bleak. Opinions? Stone Mattress was a terrific and often terrifying collection of short stories. Read it!
This week I'm reading three books that I'm enjoying without ambivalence.
A Spy Among Friends is the book I'm reading at the gym- I finally figured out how to make a paperback stay still on the ARC Trainer and the stationery bike, and I need something since the gym doesn't have a magazine rack. I'm hoping I can get through more nonfiction the same way. But I'm reading it only on days that I work out and that's only four days a week, so it's a little slow going, but I do love it.
Augustus, by John Williams, is an epistolary novel about the life of Augustus Caesar. My husband is a big classics guy and loves Augustus (we have a bust in our living room) and we've been having fun talking about this book which I hope he'll read as well. When we went to Rome two years ago a highlight was visiting the Ara Pacis, Augustus's tomb. Also, it's a wonderful book that rewards a nice slow read.
Another wonderful book to read slowly is the very different The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Richard Flanagan, which is this year's Booker Prize winner. It's incredible. It's dark and bleak too, about a survivor of Japanese POW camps, kind of a fictional Unbroken. It's also filled with beautiful language and quotable moments like this one, when the protagonist is visiting a bookshop: "At such times he had the sensation that that there was only one book in
the universe, and that all books were simply portals into this greater
ongoing work — an inexhaustible, beautiful world that was not imaginary
but the world as it truly was, a book without beginning or end." I'm reading it slowly, because it demands that, and because I don't really want it to end.
What about you? What are you reading? It's rainy and raw where I am today and I plan to spend a lot of time with my books. What's your plan? See more at BookJourney.wordpress.com.