Friday, September 26, 2014

pile of reading

Far from the Tree: parents, children, and the search for identity by Andrew Solomon
Andrew Solomon devotes each chapter to a different category of child that presents to the parent as a person unlike them: the Autistic, the Deaf, Transgender, etc. I’m on the eighth chapter which is devoted to prodigies, music prodigies, specifically. Since Solomon himself is gay he’s more ready to notice when people he writes about are, too. Though there isn’t a chapter expressly on gay people, Andrew Solomon speaks about his own experience as a gay man (with straight parents) in the opening and closing chapters. The book is sometimes fascinating, sometimes depressing, sometimes intriguing, sometimes oddly diffuse.

Oz Before the Rainbow: L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz on stage and screen to 1939 by Mark Evan Swartz
Real detail on the live version of Wizard that was the biggest stage hit of its day (1902). It was not much like the book or the MGM movie.

At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald
I loved George MacDonald’s fairy tales so I was looking forward to this novel. I enjoyed the first third where the North Wind is personified as a woman who picks up the little boy protagonist and carries him off to adventures. But then the North Wind goes away and the text gets preachy.

Poets of Our Time edited by F E S Finn
An anthology of English verse which was published in 1965, year of my birth. A lot more devotion to traditional prosody than in the anthologies I usually read. Not bad, though.

Sudden Dreams: new and selected poems by George Evans
“world of a thousand / eyes viewing a thousand things at once / and each thing equal”

Short: an international anthology of five centuries of short-short stories, prose poems, brief essays, and other short prose forms edited by Alan Ziegler
More like reading a poetry anthology than one of short stories. The usual anthology experience - worth the time but uneven.

Against Forgetting: twentieth-century poetry of witness edited by Carolyn Forche
I expect I will be reading this rather long anthology for a long time as I don’t see myself reading more than a few poems at a sitting. These are poems about living through terrible world events.

Mojo: the music magazine, August 2014 issue
Favorite song on the compilation CD that came with the issue: “Slowly” performed by the Haden Triplets. Pretty, folky singing.

Revenge: a story of hope by Laura Blumenfeld
This one is at my desk at work. I read in on breaks. It’s really working for me. Blumenfeld writes well and I love the way she thinks aloud and researches and debates and doubts and clings to her needs. Her father was shot in Jerusalem by a Palestinian. Father’s head was grazed by the bullet. When daughter Laura asks if he wants revenge (she does), Father is baffled by the impulse.

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