Could you spend the rest of your life reading Joyce Carol Oates?

Probably. Hell, if you’re old enough, and/or a slow reader, you could spend the rest of your life just reading the Oates books we happen to own at the FKCC library — 43 titles according to my quick search of our catalogue — and that represents a small portion of her oeuvre, I’m sure.

But if you’re going to read just one, and especially if you’re an unrehabilitated English major, I can recommend Wild Nights — my review is in today’s edition of Solares Hill, available as a downloadable PDF (the review is also posted on the Citizen’s website).

What else? I went on a reading binge last weekend — finished up “The Man Who Made Lists,” Joshua Kendall’s biography of Peter Roget, of Roget’s Thesaurus fame. It was OK but I didn’t feel like I knew the guy — the way I already feel I’m getting to know the characters in my current reading, Patricia O’Toole’s “Five of Hearts,” a group portrait of Henry and Clover Adams, John and Clara Hay and Clarence King, all post-Civil War movers and shakers in Washington. This is the first book of hers that I’ve read and it’s great. Can’t wait to see her at the upcomng Key West Literary Seminar.

After my disappointment with Alison Weir’s Elizabeth novel, I turned to Jhumpa Lahiri and, after finishing the Roget bio last weekend, I finished “Unaccustomed Earth” — the stories got more powerful as the book went along, especially the last three that were linked stories about a man and woman. And the ending, which I should have seen coming but didn’t, was surprising and moving.

After that I temporarily lost my mind and persuaded my husband to embark on a long-overdue attic cleaning (it cooled off a bit on Monday and we figured this was our last shot at working in the attic without serious overheating issues). It needed to be done, I’m glad we did it, but it was an exhausting end to the holiday. Since then, all I’ve been able to take in is a couple episodes of “Deadwood” and a couple New Yorker “Talk of the Town” pieces. Hoping to make a full reading recovery this weekend, though. (Speaking of Deadwood, after starting the show I noticed that we happen to have the Pete Dexter novel of the same name on the shelf at home — it turns out it’s not the basis for the series though it shares some characters, ie. Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane — it may have just moved up the stack just out of western curiosity … I don’t think I’ve read one since the fabulous “Lonesome Dove,” which is getting close to, um, 20 years ago.)

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Filed under history, Literary seminar, nonfiction, recommended reading

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