Today is World Book Day and I just learned that in Lausanne they have a 1932 trolleybus rolling around the city all day with book readings – how fun! I am heading into the library this afternoon so hopefully will come across some of the events they’ve planned all over Switzerland to celebrate.

 

Check out Unesco’s site to see if your country/city has planned anything to celebrate.

 

Like this:

 

In the city of Romans, in France, La Boucherie Chevaline (a cultural center) has organized a 24-hour non-stop reading session this weekend of Les Misérables including light food, drinks and surprises. I mapquested it and was delighted to find I could get there in about three hours as its just south of Grenoble but the Swiss man and I are running in a race on Saturday so no game. What a bummer! Sounds like a lot of fun.

 

But I’m promising myself to celebrate today by finishing up my translating work early and heading into town for a visit to the library, a quick stop at my favorite secondhand book shop and some quality reading time this evening after we’ve finished our training run. I reserved five books online the other night and can’t wait to pick them up:

 

  • The Secret River – Kate Grenville
  • Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates
  • Excusez les fautes du copiste – Grégoire Polet
  • A ton image – Louise Lambrichs
  • Flaubert’s Parrot – Julian Barnes

 

Otherwise, I’m almost finished with Michael Cunningham’s The Hours. Last night while I was reading it occurred to me that despite the stylistic similarities between The Hours and Mrs. Dalloway, one thing Cunningham isn’t really able to mimic is the heady breathlessness of Woolf’s book. And I’m glad. Where Mrs. Dalloway charges forward with this incredible velocity, The Hours is a slower take on the same thematic. This seems fitting for an homage, a kind of respectful self-consciousness so we don’t ever forget who’s the master and who’s doing the admiring.

 

As silly as this next statement may sound, I kind of miss reading The Iliad. But I don’t want to jump right into The Odyssey without a small break so luckily I’ve got Herodotus to tackle this month. From Stefanie’s posts (like this one) I think I will thoroughly enjoy my encounter with the father of history and hopefully he’ll fill the Homer void I’m experiencing.

 

Finally, I’m on the lookout for some truly amazing contemporary fiction by a writer I’ve never read. I want to be wowed the way I was wowed with Robinson’s Gilead, Powers’s The Echo Maker, McCarthy’s The Road, Gordimer’s The House Gun or Amis’s House of Meetings. I realize I’ve just cited five vastly different books. Still, anyone have any suggestions? What’s the best contemporary novel you’ve read recently and what was it that struck you?