reading: Calvino, Svevo, Barnes…


Six Memos for the Next Millenium, Italo Calvino – Ah, Italo Calvino is so much more intelligent and knowledgeable than I am. He was older, it is true, but still. Still.

He is just the ideal amount more intelligent, on the bright side; just enough that it is salutary to strive to keep up with him, not so much than I am bewildered or discouraged and give up. Above all, his brand of intelligence is the kind I find interesting.

How to Be a Woman, Caitlin Moran – A call to feminism via memoir. Often funny, often sensible. The call is clear and the case is sound: there is a long way to go yet. Post-read I am more likely to view a given situation through a feminist lens (in addition to whatever other lenses are in play), which is all to the good. A quick read I recommend especially to women (men are very welcome to heed calls to third-wave feminism, too, but they may not find the anecdotes and conclusions as personally relevant).

Confessions of Zeno, Italo Svevo – You know how sometimes your attention starts to flag as you read, and you begin to doubt that you and this particular book are going to make it, and you feel that you might abandon the text at any minute with relief? This book is nothing like that. Immediately I knew I was in good hands.

When I Was a Child I Read Books, Marilynne Robinson – These essays seem to be the result of a casual impulse to discourse on some topic or another, but they are so dense and serious, giving the impression of considerable intelligence and reflection. I can’t remember now the sequence of events that lead me to this book…I think it was random, maybe I was requesting a completely unrelated book from the library and this came up as a secondary search result. I will often request anything that catches my eye while searching for another title, figuring that while it is often unsuccessful, there are bound to be gems now and then.

The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes – This is up next, not actually started yet. I have the feeling that it is going to be depressing, and that I will like it. Have been meaning to read Barnes for a while now.