Sunday, July 16

Recent Readings

I recently finished Philip Roth's The Great American Novel. If you're a fan of baseball, literature and laughs then this is a must read. If you're not a fan of those things then you're clearly a communist and Book-Loop will not refrain from naming your name. I thank Louis, a friend to Book-Loop, for the most thoughtful recommendation.

I've since moved onto The Torrents of Spring by Ivan Turgenev. This book is, as the name of the author might imply, altogether different from Hemingway's Sherwood Anderson parody of the same name. It is curious to me that Hemingway would title his essentially American burlesque after a story by one of the Russian masters. If you have any information on this please do tell. Perhaps as I get a bit deeper I'll find some reasoning (it's quite a small book, so that could come momentarily), At any rate, Turgenev's Torrents is a pretty standard love tale. It's not written with the same elegance as Fathers and Sons but it's still quite good.

It's funny how I have come to read the two Torrents. When my father visited Seattle he saw that I had just read Fathers and Sons. He said the only Turgenev he had read was a wonderful love tale by the name of The Torrents of Spring. While touring the Seattle Public Library together he suggested we find it. We could not, but we did find the Hemingway work of the same name. We looked for the Turgenev at Elliot Bay Book Company here in Seattle and then at Powell's in Portland. No luck at either cavernous locale. Now, my father is getting on in years and I just assumed that he had confused one book with another--though mixing up Hemingway with Turgenev seems odd for a well-read being of any age or mental capacity. When my father left town I went back to the library and read Hemingway's Torrents just for kicks. It was fun, if dated. A few weeks ago when I visited home my father gave me a copy of Turgenev's Torrents that he had purchased for me. It seemed as though he had made it his mission get me the book after the initial failure in Seattle and Portland. Thoughtful man, my father.

My big brother gave me a crisp $100 bill for my birthday last week. I used the money to purchase seven books (he told me to buy music, but fuck him). Here is what I bought:

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
Old School by Tobias Wolff
Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
Blindness by José Saramago
Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami
The White Album by Joan Didion


Bryan said...

You are referring to The Intuitionist, no? Good book.

Ben said...

Indeed. I guess that's what one gets for blogging in a fit of excitement after returning from the bookstore. By any name, it still remains atop my pile waiting to be read.

Bryan said...

It's damn good, from what I remember. Geoff turn you to that one? He's got what was formerly my copy. After you read it, I will tell you the situation in which I was reading it, and it will astonish you.

Ben said...

Nope, Geoff didn't recommend it to me, I read about it somewhere about a year ago. But he and I did briefly discuss Whitehead during our hike up Mt. Si on Sunday, and he speaks very highly of The Intuitionist. I am currently stuck on page 17. I've somehow found myself in the middle of four books but distracted by my backlog of periodical reading.