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From My Bookshelf: Recent (and Current) Reads

Sometimes it seems I spend so much of my reading time “working”–reading books in order to review them–that I’m not reading much for “fun” (which isn’t to say that writing reviews isn’t fun!). Luckily, I’ve had the pleasure of reading two excellent “non-assigned” novels within the past couple of weeks: Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children (I wanted to read it before going to hear Messud read last night at the Harvard Book Store–a terrific event), and Ken Kalfus’s A Disorder Peculiar To This Country.

Right now I’m in the middle of two other books: Mavis Gallant’s Paris Stories, which I should have read a long time ago (I’m quite serious about that–in my family we often inscribe the books we give one another and judging from what’s written inside this one it seems that my sister and brother-in-law gave it to me way back in December 2002), and Adam Harmon’s Lonely Soldier, a memoir of an American-born man’s experience serving in the Israeli army. (The title alludes to the Hebrew term, chayal boded [“lone soldier”], referring to someone without family in Israel. I just learned that reading two nights ago.)

What are other practicing writers reading these days?

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  1. RUNNUNG WITH SCISSORS: It’s hard to shock me, but I’ve read with one hand over my open mouth while waiting on 1. the dr. 2. my next student; even in my own home — funny, completely offbeat, well-written. I can see Ms Benning getting an Oscar in the upcoming movie!

  2. i am a little behind in my reading too, i think. at least, the books i’ve read most recently have been out for quite awhile: lying awake by mark salzman, and kissing in manhattan by david schickler. i loved salzman’s exploration of faith that comes up hard against unsympathetic reality. and schickler’s stories remind me a little of shirley jackson’s wickedly black humor, only even blacker and wickeder at times.

    now i am reading the house of sand and fog. (gah, talk about behind!!!)

    i am also making my way through migration by w.s. merwin. wow… i’ve never before been much for reading poetry, but i am loving his work.

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