Thursday, October 01, 2009

Reading List

So I really want to write about Parade at the Taper, but I haven't quite gathered my thoughts. I will say though, it has some powerful moments--the ending really got me. And I quickly have to ask: Davis Gaines and Charlotte D'Amboise--what is with the plastic surgery? I'm more used to it on women, so hers wasn't as wierd (except that I thought she looked like Melissa Gilbert and it didn't occur to me until today that she was in it and I had actually seen her - and I've seen her on film and on stage before), but his was just bizarre to me--especially since he played the older characters. He has such a great big voice. I don't know why you'd do it--I suppose there's pressure to do it. Or maybe when you're an actor and so much is out of your control, that feels within it.

I do know that I just gave myself a papercut underneath my fingernail which hurts and is making typing wierdly painful. Who knew you could do that? Learn something new every day.

So, list making. I was listening to a T. Coraghessan Boyle story about Jane Austen, and he mentioned Mansfield Park. I've never read that. I love Jane Austen, but that's the one I don't know. Maybe it's time to read it. Looks like you can read the whole text of it on Google.

Currently I'm reading or have on my list

Fraud - David Rakoff - Loving it. Funny and Sedaris-y, who I suppose is his closest cousin in style and view. He's more arch in some ways, but similar voice. I like his writing.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris - on my nightstand. I've read a few pieces. See above.

Getting Mother's Body - Suzan-Lori Parks - never read her stuff, and have never read As I Lay Dying, which this is a riff on. Gap in my reading knowledge--there are many. Looks interesting, and a nice toe in to fiction again. And always interesting to see a playwright craft a novel.

How to Be Alone - Jonathan Franzen - I wrote about this before, about leaving it on the plane. So a few essays in. He can be quite cranky, but that's his thing. He manages to steer away from self-involved snob, which he veers close to, through accurate self-appraisal and passionate enagagement with the world around him. Love a good essay. His essay "My Father's Brain" about his Father's struggle with Alzheimer's and his dealing with it is brilliant.

Speaking of essays, and I'm sure I wrote about these before, but do yourself a favor and pick up "At Large and At Small: Familiary Essays" and "Ex Libris: COnfessions of a common reader" by Anne Fadiman. Simultaneously grounded and enchanting. Fascinating subjects and a wonderful writer. I haven't read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, a winner of the National Book Critics Circle award about a girl with severe Epilepsy in California who is the child of Hmong refugees. Perhaps because I know it will be heartbreaking.

And I'm two issues of the New Yorker behind. What's new? I'm just grooving on the essays lately.

I'm thinking about observing Shabbat just so I can read. Can't "engaged in study" mean whatever you want it to?


Elizabeth said...

All of these books you must read! And, yes, I've read the Faulkner and the Fadiman and, of course, the Spirit Catches You. I adore David Sedaris but have never tried David Rakoff, so thanks for the suggestion. I liked Jonathan Franzen's book The Corrections but his snobbery sort of gets on my nerves.

I love your book posts and now that I know that we have similar tastes, I'll really be into them!

Criticlasm said...

Thank you! I just requested "The Spirit Catches You..." and it's the only book where someone sent me a note before telling me she thought it was a masterpiece and wanting me to let her know what I thought after reading it.