|photo by Evan Laurence Bench|
1. What book are you reading now?
Innocents Abroad, by Mark Twain
Twain being Twain. I can only take small doses, but he's worth it.
Arcadia, by Iain Pears
Starts off in the present tense, which puts my hackles up. Professor acquaintance of Tolkien and Lewis wants to create his own fantasy world, without having a story to tell about it. Girl gets into the world. Not really gripping, so far.
The Betrothed, by Alessandro Manzoni
2. What book did you just finish?
Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings, by Stephen O'Connor
There was a interesting novel of moral choices buried here, obscured by pages of pretentious abstractions in which we hike literally through Jefferson's psyche, we witness Jefferson watching a movie about himself, we follow Jefferson and Hemings as they check out the Museum of Miscegenation, the author muses about colors, and we squirm through segments of self-righteous wish-fulfillment in which Jefferson is a prisoner being tortured by a sadistic guard for being evil. Perhaps the author doesn't realize, or perhaps he does, that he is creating his own Sally Hemings as much as he convicts Jefferson of doing. And all this, without mentioning the loathed present tense format of the more novelistic scenes. Egad. Special mention, though to the moving depictions of a slave auction and the death of beloved children.
Septimania, by Jonathan Levi
Ludicrous theological errors on page one made it impossible for me to suspend disbelief through a narrative that really needed suspension of disbelief. Also, I've read Umberto Eco, and you, sir, are no Umberto Eco
Plantation Parade, by Harnett Kane
The histories of several notable plantations along the Mississippi, with a keen sense of the wheel of time and fortune turning.
Ghosts Along the Mississippi, by Clarence John Laughlin
The purplest of prose, but the photos are gripping.
3. What do you plan to read next?
Ad Pyrrham, by Ronald Storrs
Scarpia, by Piers Paul Read
Queen of the Night, by Alexander Chee
Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar, by Amy and Leon Kass
4. What book do you keep meaning to finish?
John Adams, by David McCullough
The Iliad, translated by Caroline Alexander
5. What book do you keep meaning to start?
Nothing making me feel guilty at the moment.
6. What is your current reading trend?
New fiction which is highly reviewed by the WSJ.