Sunday, October 31, 2010

October Reading in Review

Discussed already this month:
A Room with a View – E.M. Forster (novel, audiobook)
Aiding and Abetting – Muriel Spark (novel)
The Day Hemingway Died – Owen Marshall (short stories, New Zealand)


Self-Help – Lorrie Moore (short stories)

Self-HelpI hate most writing that uses the second person. Just hate it. But I could abide all the you’s in this book, Lorrie Moore’s first collection (1985), so that’s saying something. Maybe it’s because I was a big Moore fan already — her novel Who Will Run the Frog Hospital was one of my favourite reads in 2008; her 1998 short story collection Birds of America was a big influence on me the year before.


Selected Poems: Octavio Paz – Edited by Eliot Weinberger (poetry)

Again, I come to the conclusion that reading anthologies, Best Ofs and Selected Works misses the point. But how else does one begin to approach a prolific poet, especially one in translation?


Absurdistan – Gary Shteyngart (novel, audiobook)

AbsurdistanI enjoyed this book immensely. The audiobook version, which I borrowed from the Wellington City Library via its overdrive online borrowing system (a fabulous thing itself), was nominated for an Audie (the audiobook equivalent of an Oscar) in 2007, and rightly so. Arte Johnson’s turn as the ebullient narrator, Misha Vainberg, unable to return to his beloved United States, could have easily been over-egged, but Johnson eggs it perfectly (so to speak). Shteyngart’s novel is funny, generous and over-so-carefully absurd. A great reading/listening experience.

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