thursday reading notes

These warm summer days leading up to my maternity leave see me doing much less than usual. I’ve got a few work projects to wrap up before Sept 1, but I am otherwise taking it very easy. This does mean I am reading quite a bit, but I haven’t been able to drum up much energy for long, lengthy reviews. I feel quite guilty about this because I’ve recently read some excellent books.

I finished Graham Swift’s Waterland and Gabriel Josipovici’s Goldberg: Variations – both wonderful, both intricate and complex narratives. For a change of style, I read Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meat which was quite funny in places, but also serious and one of the best representations of Japanese and Japanese-American culture I’ve read in a long time.

For work I’m enjoying a slim volume of essays by Jacques Chessex called Ecrits sur Ramuz as well as a collection of writings about Ramuz by his friends and colleagues called Ramuz vu par ses amis. Both are excellent and giving me much to think about as I work through my translation. Not to mention I’ve been dipping into Ramuz’s journals a little bit every day and becoming increasingly impressed with his extemporaneous writing style. He began his journals when he was seventeen and right away they show what a conscientious thinker and writer he would soon become.

And finally, today, I’m happily starting Part III of Jeannette Winterson’s The Passion and thoroughly entranced with her writing.

9 Comments

  1. Glad to hear you enjoyed Waterland! It’s a favourite of mine.

    And thanks for the reminder to read Goldberg: Variations which I’ve been meaning to get to for years.

  2. I think an element in this is that once you get out of the habit of writing a review it’s very difficult to get back into it. I know I’ve found this coming back to the blog after a gap. You forget how best to frame your thoughts. Swift is a writer I keep meaning to read but have never go round to. Is ‘Waterland’ the best place to start?

  3. Isn’t Goldberg: Variations fantastic? Amazing how so much can be packed into such a short book. I’ve been meaning to read My year of Meats for ages but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I am glad to hear you enjoyed it. It bodes well for me then when I do get the chance to read it 🙂

  4. I’ve just finished The Passion which like yourself I found entrancing. Lighthousekeeping is my favourite of Winterson’s books so far, but The Passion is a close second.

  5. Colleen – Waterland was lovely, a nice slow read.

    Table Talk – I agree, it is hard coming back to reviews after a short break. I think my low energy level doesn’t help either. Your question about Swift is a tough one. I’ve read two of his novels and they were VERY different, I enjoyed both but again, for very different reasons. I’ve heard Waterland praised by a lot of people, so perhaps it is the best place to start.

    Stefanie – My Year of Meats was good, I thought, parts were really funny but other parts were really gross. There is a lot of information about the US beef industry and most of it is not nice.

    Lilian – I think you’d enjoy both and I look forward to your thoughts if you get a chance to read them.

    Devoted Reader – Wasn’t The Passion wonderful. I have another Winterson waiting for me, but not Lighthousekeeping, I’ll have to see if I can find that one!

  6. What lovely books! But don’t feel guilty – it’s essential to have the last few months of pregnancy lolling around in idle bliss. Just think how happy your baby must be, peacefully listening to all those wonderful stories….

  7. I loved Waterland! So glad you enjoyed it. And thanks (I think) for reminding me to read Goldberg:Variations…the book that got me hooked on the music.
    Trust your August is proving to be a tad cooler than ours…

  8. Litlove – Thanks, I need lots of gentle reminding to take it easy, since my usual pace is a bit more hectic.

    Ds – Waterland was really beautiful, and also impressive, I thought, how much he put into the story. August is Switzerland isn’t too hot, so I’m fortunate!

Comments are closed.