A few more new books.
This weekend, I plan to finish Joyce Carol Oates’ latest short story collection and Book Eight of The Brothers Karamazov. (Book group participation has been dwindling, but this week’s meeting, the seventh, was jarring: For the first fifteen minutes, it was only the two moderators and yours truly. Eventually, two other readers logged in, but one left early.) I have pulled a few other books from the shelves, but I’m not yet ready to commit to a plan.
Between March 14 and the end of the month, I read eleven books, bringing my year-to-date total to fifty-nine.
As part of my effort to reread all of Shakespeare’s plays in 2021, I tackled:
■ Love’s Labour’s Lost (William Shakespeare; 1598. Drama.)
■ Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare; 1597. Drama.) RFS
■ A Midsummer Night’s Dream (William Shakespeare; 1596. Drama.)
This time through I was struck by the rages into which Capulet and Egeus fly when confronted with the preferences of their respective daughters. Apparently, each would prefer a dead daughter to one with agency.
But, as you will not wed, I’ll pardon you:
Graze where you will you shall not house with me:
Look to’t, think on’t, I do not use to jest.
Thursday is near; lay hand on heart, advise:
An you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend;
And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in
For, by my soul, I’ll ne’er acknowledge thee,
Nor what is mine shall never do thee good:
Trust to’t, bethink you; I’ll not be forsworn.
Full of vexation come I, with complaint
Against my child, my daughter Hermia.
Stand forth, Demetrius. My noble lord,
This man hath my consent to marry her.
Stand forth, Lysander: and my gracious duke,
This man hath bewitch’d the bosom of my child;
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
And interchanged love-tokens with my child:
Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung,
With feigning voice verses of feigning love,
And stolen the impression of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats, messengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden’d youth:
With cunning hast thou filch’d my daughter’s heart,
Turn’d her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness: and, my gracious duke,
Be it so she; will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens,
As she is mine, I may dispose of her:
Which shall be either to this gentleman
Or to her death, according to our law
Immediately provided in that case.
■ The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie; 2007. Fiction.)
Following Tommy Orange’s excellent There There, I browsed my shelves for other works by Native American writers.
■ Octavia Butler’s Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation (Damian Duffy; 2017. Fiction.)
A follow-up to Butler’s novel.
■ The Memory Police (Yoko Ogawa; 2019 (1994). Fiction.)
Years ago, I read and loved Ogawa’s The Housekeeper and the Professor, which is also concerned with the nature of memory. This is just as wonderful. Reviews here and here.
■ Olive, Again (Elizabeth Strout; 2019. Fiction.)
No, it is not as good as Olive Kitteridge, but it is a terrific book.
■ Pursuit (Joyce Carol Oates; 2019. Fiction.)
While awaiting my copy of The (Other) You, I pulled this slim thriller from the Oates collection. The Chicago Humanities Festival hosted a talk with the author on March 25, archived here.
■ The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Kate DiCamillo; 2006. Fiction.)
Gorgeously illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, this was a lovely, if bittersweet, story.
■ Drawing Lines: An Anthology of Women Cartoonists (2021. (First published in 2006, as Sexy Chix.) Graphic fiction.)
Picked it up for the JCO content.
■ Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking (D.Q. McInerny May; 2004. Non-fiction.)
Think The Elements of Style for logic.
Glad to hear your thoughts on The Memory Police. It is one I came across during the Japanese Literature challenge that sounded intriguing. I read Affliction by Russell Banks earlier this year. He has a wonderful way of writing, even if the story was quite dark.
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