Here's a good Saturday morning thread. Current reading. What are you reading at the moment, and would you recommend it?
Here are the books on my own bedside table at the moment:
Anatomy Lesson - Philip Roth
I've just finished a Herman Wouk binge, after which it's only natural to look up Philip Roth's novels again. Roth's protagonist is the same in every novel (tortured Jewish writer/tortured Jewish academic/tortured Jewish adolescent) - in The Anatomy Lesson successful writer Nathan Zuckerman is tortured so much by neck pains, Oedipus problems and a visiting harem of helpfully auto-erotic women that he gives it all up to become a doctor and pornographer. It could only be a Philip Roth novel ...
Now Read On - Bernard Levin
One of the things I enjoyed about living in London was the wit wisdom and sagacity of Britain's many wonderful columnists, all available just for the price of a newspaper. Twice a week in The Times I could enjoy the best of those columnists, Bernard Levin, and with this collection I can enjoy his work again. From a meditation on the fall of the Berlin Wall to a diatribe against those who would put a shrunken Maori head up for auction (people who see "no difference between a human head and an inlaid escritoire") to a minor treatise on negative elasticity based on the non-purchase of a duty free belt to hold up his trousers, I'm reminded from these rapier sharp sallies why for fifteen years I've wanted to write columns like Levin did. The knowledge that he would never have used the adjectival phrase "rapier sharp" tells me I'm still far from it.
Music of the Mind - Anthony Storr
Some people might think talking about music is like dancing about architecture. Anthony Storr is not one of them. Something that can elicit such powerful emotions from us can't be causeless, he reasons, and this book goes a long way to helping explain that cause. Highly recommended.
The Complete Stories of Saki
A regular on the night-stand this: Saki's acerbic short stories are great just to dip into as a relief from a diet of electronically-delivered saccharine. If you've ever thought Oscar Wilde should be just a trifle more vicious, then Saki is just for you. If this line grabs you -- "He is one of those people who would be enormously improved by death" -- then without delay make plans to get Saki on your own night stand. Your evenings will be enormously improved.
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