What to read now
Posted February 22, 2007on:
I completed Roger Mais’ Black Lightning last night. It wasn’t as good as Brother Man but it had its own merits: I particularly enjoyed two major characters who were artists and how they approached their art. I’ll review it before the end of February if I don’t procrastinate. I find myself very reluctant to leave Mais in order to explore another Jamaican author, so I picked up his short stories collection, Listen, The Wind and Other Stories.
I’m excited about my 2005 Paris Review issues because there is A.S. Byatt (woohoo!) fiction in the Spring, and for the “Art of Fiction” series there is Rushdie for the summer and Pamuk for the Fall/Winter. If I’m not mistaken this was also the first year Philip Gourevitch was at the helm. I browsed through Bud Parr’s archives at Chekhov’s Mistress and read up on all the brouhaha surrounding Brigid Hughes quick ouster from the editor’s post. It will be interesting to see, going back through the years, how the editorial tone changed. I quite like what Gourevitch has been doing so far, but apparently many Plimpton devotees believed that Hughes was truer to Plimpton’s spirit. Not that Hughes is moping as she started her own periodical called A Public Space; it was selected as “Best New Literary Magazine” last year by the Village Voice, which described it as “ridiculously good”. It has contributors like Ander Monson and Richard Powers as an advisory editor but I’m pretty sure it isn’t sold anywhere near me and my library sure doesn’t have it. :-(.
It’s not as if I need a new periodical to read anyway. (:-().
I’ve landed on Artemisia by Anna Banti as my next novel to tackle. I should also get crackin’ on paring down my Underrated Writers list; Brian Evenson may have won that jackpot so I’ve pulled The Open Curtain from the stacks to see if we’ll work out fine together.
What about Don Quixote, you may ask? Well, I read the translator’s introduction! (I don’t know why the book intimidates me, but it does.) Interesting titbit: the grandfather of one of my roommates claims to be a direct descendant of Cervantes himself. Supporting evidence as provided by his grandson? They share the same last name and his grandfather writes very well; he is also a humble sort and does not idly boast.