Monday, April 19, 2010

What I'm Reading

A dear friend of ours was once given some wonderful advice before embarking on his calling in the Catholic priesthood: to always be reading both a religious book (theology, spiritual formation, etc.) and a fiction book. What excellent advice! I love this encouragement to study beyond your own profession and be a student of humanity. Fiction nourishes creativity and promotes empathy to those who lead such different lives. As I read Middlesex, I kept thinking of the above advice.
As I just finished this lengthy Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Jeffrey Eugenides, it's still a bit much to process the book in its entirety. Some have compared its brilliance to Homer's Iliad.  That seems a bit much to me, but it does elicit my sympathies to a host of different people: immigrants moving to a foreign land, survivors of horrific wars, and those living with complicated and unusual genetic deformities. The prose is beautiful, and Eugenides is a powerful story teller. (This might be why Princeton has hired him to teach creative writing.) It's certainly a fascinating read.

I'm also in the process of reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

Described as a philosophical tragi-comedy, the story takes place in Paris and seems to explore the tension of the classes in France. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Sitting on my desk, I've also got:

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders was recently awarded finalist in the Pulitzer Prize 2010 section on fiction. One critic writes that under Muennedin's gaze "Pakistan is lit up as though by a lightning flash, clear, sharp-edged." I can't wait to dig in to this one!

I also just finished Shanghai Girls, a story written by Lisa See about a pair of sisters born in Shanghai, China surviving a tumultuous episode of history in both China and the US. In this historic fiction, I learned a great deal about how immigration from China to the US worked in mid-20th century. Definitely an engaging read, I recommend this book!

Last but not least - I'm working my way through The Roger Scruton Reader. Philosopher and public intellectual, Scruton is giving the Gifford Lectures at St. Andrews University beginning this week. I, for one, am ecstatic about hearing him speak! How lucky are we!

1 comment:

Trudy said...

You definitely read faster than I do. Wish I could speed read. There are just so many books that I want to dive into! Keep readin', girl!

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