Books 3/8/06

More catching up to do.

The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh was delightful. There were some interesting insights into the writing process, some great historical context realizations for me, and over all I highly enjoyed it.

The Everlasting by Jamie S. Rich. I reviewed this last year when I read an advanced copy, and I read it again recently in an editing capacity. With each book Rich gets stronger and stronger in his storytelling, and his books manage to do what good literature does- make you feel. Happy, furious, so so sad, this book has a bit of it all. It will be released in August, with a truly gorgeous cover by Chynna Clugston, and you can bet I’ll be reading it again then. (I’ll write more about it then too.)

Writing down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I started reading this at the beginning of the year, then left it at my sister’s and only just got it back. Goldberg uses writing as a Zen practice, and this book is her instruction on how to do so. As a result she ends up giving insights on both Zen and writing, and as short and simple as the chapters are, I felt like I missed a lot, because there’s just so much in there to get. I’ll be reading this one again too.

I’m currently doing something I rarely do- reading 2 books at once. I’m reading both Everybody was So Young by Amanda Vaill, a biography of Gerald and Sara Murphy, the couple on which Fitzgerald’s Dick and Nicole Diver in Tender is the Night were based. They’re a fascinating couple in a fascinating time and place, and Gerald reminds me somewhat of Max Fischer, the main character in Rushmore.

I’m also reading Harlan Ellison’s Deathbird Stories, which is stunning. Similar in concept to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Ellison’s stories are darker and deeper, haunting you long after you’ve put the book down. The over riding concept is that many gods exist, as long as someone believes in them. Once the last believer is gone, so is the god. New gods are created as people worship new things, and these stories concentrate on those new gods- speed, gambling, violence and terror, etc. The stories are harsh but penetrating, shocking but purposefully so, as they electrify your brain into thinking about things differently. Jamie gifted me with this book, (it’s out of print), and I’m extremely grateful.

Current total: 19
Currently reading: Everybody was So Young by Amanda Vaill and Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison

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