Michelle Bailat-Jones

Writer, Translator, Reader

Because it is finally very warm on this little mountain and this makes me lazy, because listening to the crickets pulse and whirr out in the yard is much easier when I am not typing, because there are several books waiting for me just a few feet away… I am simply going to write a kind of list:

 Books I recently finished (all of which were excellent, absolutely excellent):

  • The Longings of Wayward Girls, Karen Brown: desire & memory & being lost, losing oneself, missing people, missing pieces of one’s life (full review forthcoming)
  • In the Heart of the Country, J.M. Coetzee: denial & self-denial & repression/oppression & Coetzee’s impeccably flawless narrative control
  • An Elegy for Mathematics, Anne Valente: physical manifestations of emotion, longing, impossible hopes, mixing of science and feeling (full review forthcoming)
  • Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life, Lyndall Gordon: enacting desire within rigorously guarded (or self-guarded) confines (blog review forthcoming)

Books I am currently reading:

  • Mr. Darwin’s Gardener, Kristina Carlson

“We are not bad people. We are not perfect either.”

  • Love Dog, Masha Tupitsyn

“She’s embarrassed. Embarrassed because she is excited, so she can’t look at him. I like people, no love people, who take looking and being looked at this seriously.”

  • To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

“There it was before her—life. Life, she thought—but she did not finish her thought. She took a look at life, for she had a clear sense of it there, something real, something private, which she shared neither with her children nor with her husband. A sort of transaction went on between them,  in which she was on one side, and life was on another, and she was always trying to get the better of it, as it was of her; and sometimes they parleyed (when she sat alone); there were, she remembered, great reconciliation scenes; but for the most part, oddly enough, she must admit that she felt this thing that she called life terrible, hostile, and quick to pounce on you if you gave it a chance.”

A few selections from the ridiculously tall stack of books I am currently piling on my desk (I am gathering books to read for the next three weeks, when I am on holiday, both at home and away):

  • Orlando, Virginia Woolf
  • Vanishing Points, Thea Astley
  • The Flamethrowers, Rachel Kushner
  • New Finish Grammar, Diego Marani
  • All Dogs are Blue, Rodrigo de Souza Leao
  • Bear Season, Bernie Hafeli
  • Under the Jaguar Sun, Italo Calvino
  • Sorrow, Catherine Gammon
  • Grey Cats, Adam Biles
  • How Animals Grieve, Barbara J. King
  • A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, Eimear McBride

And finally, books I lingered over this evening while passing an eye across my shelves because I wished (really wished) I had not yet read them since reading them for the first time was so incredibly wonderful (this may be only interesting to myself, but all of the books that made it onto this list are somehow about both movement and solitude)

  • The Summer Book, Tove Jansson
  • The Discovery of Slowness, Sten Nadolny
  • To The Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
  • To the Wedding, John Berger
  • Flying to Nowhere, John Fuller
  • The Ballad of the Sad Café, Carson McCullers

7 Responses to “a kind of list”

    • Michelle

      Thank you. I love Calvino, and it was a treat to find this collection in a used book shop awhile ago. I’ve been looking forward to them.

  1. Stefanie

    I am intrigued by the sound of An Elegy for Mathematics, I look forward to your review of it. And oh, please do write about Mr. Darwin’s Gardener when you are done. I am very curious about that one! Have a lovely holiday!

    • Michelle

      Thank you, Stefanie. I will definitely write more about both books. I think you would like An Elegy for Mathematics – it is a very short collection, and quite short stories, but she does some wonderful things.

  2. Guilherme

    “All Dogs are Blue, Rodrigo de Souza Leão”

    How did you come across this one?

    • Michelle

      One of this year’s books from And Other Stories – I’m a subscriber, and I love their books. Have you read this?

      • Guilherme

        Not yet, I haven’t, but it’s been on my “To Be Read” list for a while…

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: