Monthly Archives: March 2011

March 2011 Reads

These are the books I read this March. As usual, there are goldmines, also some duds. I think I’m not the only one who’d wish for juju that will allow you to read just the awesome books. But where would be the fun in that? Hur, seriously, this March was fun—enriching, confusing, fulfilling, leave-you-breathless [with […]

On The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson

#46 of 2011 • The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson — translated from the Swedish by Michael Meyer — with an introduction by Michael Chabon This, ladies and gentlemen, is an epic. An episodic epic, a gather-around-the-fire-with-your-mouth-open kind of epic. Written in the 1940s, yes, but so confidently structured, The Long Ships is patterned […]

Seven Skinny Pocket Penguins

In 2005, Penguin Books released a set of seventy skinny books that sought to celebrate the paperback revolution and represent the publisher’s history. [See Happy Birthday, Penguin!] The complete set is gorgeous, yes, but a sampling has me convinced that they won’t satisfy me. And not in the way that they’ll leave me hungry for […]

On The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes — “the last court of appeal” — by Arthur Conan Doyle

Aherm. Previously, in Sasha’s Escapades with Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, MD — Baker Street, the canon, and all that sleuthing jazz: ♦ A Study in Scarlet. My first Sherlock Holmes, the first book, which “beat my preconceptions to a pulp.” Just so giddy to be part of ~Holmesiana. ♦ Sherlock Holmes Selected Stories. Which […]

From The Craftsman’s Handbook –

One of the best [better?] things to have taken away from How to Paint a Dead Man by Sarah Hall, the discovery of The Craftsman’s Handbook by Cennino d’Andrea Cennini — from which Hall got her title [I like to point out the obvious, much?] I keep reading this beautiful passage — it’s so technical, […]

“And I am asking you, do you still remember?” — Journey Into the Past by Stefan Zweig

#35 of 2011 • Journey Into the Past, by Stefan Zweig – translated from the German by Anthea Bell; – with an introduction by André Aciman. In remembering a poem by Verlaine – In the old park, in ice and snow caught fast / Two specters walk, still searching for the past – a chilling […]

The Palimpsests

#34 of 2011 • Next World Novella, by Matthias Politycki – translated from the German by Anthea Bell. A. Hinrich Schepp, a happy-enough unremarkable man, finds his wife dead. Quite dead, on his desk—presumably, her last breaths were exhaled over his long-buried fiction manuscript, now festooned with her scribbled edits and notes for revision. What […]

“I know myself,” he cried, “but that is all.”

#45 of 2011 • This Side of Paradise, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I admit to having less than pure intentions for reading Fitzgerald’s first novel. I was crazy in love for his The Great Gatsby—and I can’t wait to read it again and reach that calm whiskey feel of that last line. Boats, ya know. […]

On How to Paint a Dead Man by Sarah Hall

#44 of 2011 • How to Paint a Dead Man, by Sarah Hall. I am not as (for lack of a better word) moved as I imagined I would be. Overall, meh—a book I read because, as is always the case, I thought I’d like it, only to find out that my head had conjured […]

“Oh, what a creature is Man, that he may bewail himself!”

#38 of 2011 • The Sorrows of Young Werther, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe; translated from the German by Michael Hulse ♦ How Young Werther loves, ex.01 → Ah, how the thrill of it shoots through me if my finger happens to touch hers or our feet meet beneath the table! I recoil as if from […]