Essential Reading: May 2015
I am in the process of writing a massive post about my book buys from the first four months of 2015 in order to compensate for the lack of BOOKLOVE posts this year and it’s going to be a tough thing to write since I am essentially going to record the book acquisitions of a deranged hoarder of books. However, for now, let’s deal with the task at hand which is my reading list for May 2015. But, first, the books I’ve read last April:
- High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (4/5)
- Senselessness by Horacio Castellanos Moya (3/5)
- Tyrant Banderas by Ramón María del Valle-Inclán (3/5)
- After Henry by Joan Didion (5/5)
April hasn’t been necessarily a cruel month for me despite TS Eliot’s protestations. I’ve enjoyed reading High Fidelity especially because Rob Fleming is such a funny asshole whose thoughts sometimes mirror mine (which, in retrospect, should be a cause for alarm). Senselessness and Tyrant Banderas both disappointed me because it fell short of my expectations because I expected something amazing and yet both books fell short as some books do. After Henry, however, is a book that didn’t fall short. I could even say that it exceeded all of my expectations and made me fall in love with Didion’s writing even more.
The alliteration-happy merry month of May brings me new books to read. Here they are:
May is Short Story Month so I’ll be immersing myself in four short story collections by writers both old and new to my eyes plus the regular old novel just to keep myself from experiencing short story fatigue if ever such a thing exist (which I doubt).
- Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson – I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since a friend of mine gave this glowing reviews even considering this one of his best books of all-time. Considered to be part-way between a novel and a short story collection, Winesburg, Ohio is most often categorized as a short story cycle, a collection of short stories that form a cohesive whole which in this case is the representation of the fictional lives of the residents of Winesburg, Ohio centered around the life of the protagonist, George Willard.
- Will You Please Be Quiet Please by Raymond Carver – The desire to read another of Carver’s works (my third this time) crept up on me as I was watching the film Short Cuts by Robert Altman. Of course, the film, despite being a great one, was vastly different from any of Carver’s stories. I’ve wanted to reacquaint myself with Carver’s prose after months of not reading him so I decided to go with his debut collection.
- Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis – I’ve read the son, Martin Amis so I shall now read the father and find out if literary talent is genetic. Based on the academic life of his friend, Philip Larkin, Lucky Jim tells the story of Jim Dixon, a professor of history in a small college who is dissatisfied with all aspects of his life. Lucky Jim just might be the comedic equivalent of John Williams’ Stoner, another NYRB Classics book that centered on academic life.
- Dear Life by Alice Munro – Munro may be my favorite short story writer and the two books I’ve read that written by her (Dance of the Happy Shades and Who Do You Think You Are?) are two of my favorite collections. Dear Life is going to be my third one and I already know that I’m going to enjoy it immensely.
- Ship Fever by Andrea Barrett – I don’t really know anything about this particular collection except that it won the National Book Award back in 1996. I’m always excited in discovering writers who I’ve never read before through their short fiction and Barrett is no exception.
Well, that’s about for me this May. ‘Til next time, folks.