I’ve been reading intensely the last two months and I can feel the strain of it. It’s not the reading itself that’s the problem, it’s all the ideas that I have in the wake of them. There are so many thoughts whirling around in my head, making connections between books, putting them in a context and so forth but I never seem to be able to pin them down. Instead I just throw myself into the next book and thus add to the burden. The cat is not impressed. I’m reading A Harlot high and low by Balzac now and I’m taking my time with it. There are a few books that I want to spend a little more time on, and there are a few that have gotten a review of sorts already on Instagram but I wanted to round-up a few others that may have just flown by in my feed.
1. The return of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I have read Sherlock before, when I was younger, but then in Swedish. And it does feel a lot fresher in english, translations seem to age at twice the speed. Another thing that has happened in the interval is obviously the great Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson. I do love that series and so reading this was great as I have seen what they’ve done with it.
2. Mary by Aris Fioretos. I think I wrote about this lovingly on IG but I will mention it again as it has stayed with me. I do think that it is beautifully written, and so intimate but never sentimental. The story of a young woman being arrested and accused of communism but not being put to trial, rather put through torture to confess and name others is sadly a relevant story still. Whether she was guilty was never that important; not to her torturers nor to the reader. The story is set in 70’s Greece and based on true events and well-researched by all accounts.
3. Ex-libris- confessions of a common reader by Anne Fadiman. A collection of essays about reading and books that was a delight to read. I cannot recommend this enough. Not all of the essays are top-notch but the whole of them is bigger than the sum of the parts. It’s a love letter to books.
4. Envelope poems by Emily Dickinson. The great thing about this edition is that it has sketches about how the actual poems are written on the envelopes. She used those to save on paper, but how they are spaced out meana something for the composition I think. Do you write a poem that fits soon an envelope or do you find an envelope to fit the poem? There are also markings where she has crossed out or altered. Fascinating and possibly with some insight.
5. Störst av all by Malin Persson Giolito. This is called Quicksand in the english translation. Giolito is a lawyer and also the daughter of one of Sweden’s most well-known crime writers(as is always pointed out). I was intrigued by this as on the first page we are presented with a scene where young Maja is surrounded by her boyfriend,her best friend and her teacher. Everyone else is shot and she hasn’t got a scratch on her. She is arrested for the shooting, and that she has fired a gun is a given, but why? We follow the trial on one hand and her thoughts while waiting for the verdict on the other which leads to the questions; is she guilty? And will she be convicted? I had a good time reading it but it left very little impression. Everyone is talking about it so it’s nice to see what the fuss is about. I’d give it a 3 out of 5(but I think I gave it a 4 on goodreads?)
6. Neighbours by Lydia Davis. This is a short story but my first Davis and it did give me the taste for more. She is much loved and I can start to see why; succinct and observant. She manages to say a lot with a little and that is rare.
7. British Museum by Daljit Nagra. I went out of my comfort zone with this one. I didn’t dislike it but I’m also pretty sure it went over my head for the most part as so much of it refers to other poetry or British culture and I’m not that well acquainted with parts of it. I have no idea of what it’s like to actually live there. But maybe I get points for trying to read a little bit of everything?