I’ve been reading in Spanish and Ukrainian but nothing in English for a while. Is there anything cool going on in English-language literature? Something people want me to read and review? Is there any buzz about any books at the moment?
Please recommend. Both fiction and non-fiction are acceptable.
5 thoughts on “English Reading Recommendations”
I never read anything published after the year 2000, with rare exceptions, one of which is Jenny Diski. I wonder if you’ve read any of her work: I’m a fan of her non-fiction but I hear that her fiction is also excellent.
On a slightly different note: I’ve ordered the two volumes of the Chirbes diaries on your recommendation. I hope not to be disappointed: sometimes you sound too enthusiastic for my demure old self…
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I know, I’m madly in love with Chirbes’s books in a way that makes people scared. Please let me know what you think of them.
I’m currently enjoying Speedboat by Renata Adler. It’s hard to describe, since so far there’s no indication of a plot, but it’s very well written.
I recently discovered Ross Macdonald’s detective novels. In addition to being good, they make for and interesting look at California from the late 50s through the early 70s. It’s funny how often new colleges springing up and established campuses expanding like crazy are casually mentioned as background details. Different times.
I am not sure if it’s up your alley but I immensely enjoyed Dirt by Bill Buford. It’s an autobiographical account of his time living in Provence while he researched and learned to cook French food. There is some fascinating food history and great descriptions of local characters and even some cooking tips thrown in. It inspired me to cook ratatouille and seek out locally milled flour. I know you prefer novels but he’s a bit of a culinary detective and the book compelled me almost like a mystery novel does. It’s not “great literature” but it is engaging and optimistic and sort of filled of love for mankind. It’s a fantastic beach read.
And one more recommendation that is more in the “great literature” category. Have you heard of/read Olive Schreiner, Story of an African Farm (1883). Schreiner was a South African/British writer and the story is set in South Africa. Schreiner was connected with the “new women” movement so a part of the novel is indeed a female bildungsroman. But that is truly one of the least important parts of the novel. It’s more a reflection on pain, art, and what makes us human. It’s a shortish novel but has stunningly beautiful passages and sections that are so painful but gorgeously written. I truly love it and it is one of my favorite novels of all time. Highly recommend.
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