I like to read multiple books at the same time so that when I finish one that I love I’m not bereft and can just continue reading another book I’m already into. This month I’m really in luck. I feel like I’m hanging out with some of the most interesting people on the planet – and I am. For non-fiction I just started The Lonely City by Olivia Laing – about loneliness, New York City, and, as the jacket says, “the magical possibilities of art”. Her writing is so evocative and graceful that I find myself marking almost every page.
Last week I finished M Train by Patti Smith, again a lot about New York, and kind of a prose poem about life and art – and also houses. Here’s what she says about struggling to finish a poem: “It had become something of a hobby, a deeply wrenching one that produced no finished result. How much easier if I had simply assembled small airplane models, applying minute decals and touches of paint.” (I have some unpublished books I feel this way about.)
As for fiction, I’m deeply into In the Woods by Tana French. And I made the mistake of dipping back into it during 3:00 am insomnia last night and was up until dawn.
Two memoirs are waiting on my bedside table with the first chapters already read: On the Move by Oliver Sacks, and The Penny Poet of Portsmouth by Katherine Towler. Also the novel, The Distinguished Guest by Sue Miller and our next book club selection.
On my Kindle is Writing by Marguerite Duras. Here’s a quote: “Writing was the only thing that populated my life and made it magic. I did it. Writing never left me.” I’m going to order a hard copy of the book because I love it so much that I want to hold it in my hands and underline passages, and it’s just not the same on a Kindle. “If one had any idea what one was going to write,” she wrote, “before doing it, before writing one would never write….”