reading: Bulgakov, Thucydides, Didion, Barthes, Cela


The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov – I’m still not sure what’s going on with this novel (quite a few pages in) but I’m interested. How did I ever even come to be reading this? I have no idea. The origins are lost.

The Peloponnesian War, Thucydides – Yup.

Slouching Toward Bethlehem, Joan Didion – Reading these essays feels like having a conversation with an admired friend. They are often funny in an understated way I tend to like, often reflective in a way I enjoy and want to emulate, often simply interesting in a way that makes me want to read more of anything the author has written. Other writers who do this for me: Renata Adler, JM Coetzee, WG Sebald, David Foster Wallace, George Saunders, Adrienne Rich…

The Fashion System, Roland Barthes – As dense a piece of fashion theory as you can ever hope to find. A fair amount of convoluted phrasing but not at all without interest.

Pascual Duarte and his Family, José Cela – Rarely have I felt so clearly that I am reading a translation. [Perhaps it is not a very good one, but that is not quite my point.] The types of inclusions and omissions, the reactions to stimuli…so foreign. Cela is writing [well, wrote] what is to me an unfamiliar style of fiction, which is so refreshing and healthy for the mind. Inspiring, too.