When Facebook just isn’t cutting through the boredom anymore…
Right now, I’m in the middle of way too many books… I’m reading Witold Rybczynski’s Looking Around, a great collection of short essays about looking at architecture. I just finished Rybczynski’s Makeshift Metropolis, his book on urban planning. He’s a great writer for anybody with a lay-interest in architecture. Along the same lines, I’m reading Ways of Seeing by John Berger—I’ve been interested in non-fiction about other art forms—architecture, photography, painting, etc.—mostly to see what, as a writer, I can learn from people thinking and writing about visual art. I just picked up Julio Cortazar’s From the Observatory, a really beautiful book combining Cortazar’s photographs of an abandoned observatory with writing that is, so far, the strangest Cortazar I’ve read. I try to think about everything I read as research for the novel I’m working on, even though the only thing I’m reading right now that really counts toward that is V.S. Ramachandran’s The Tell-Tale Brain. One of the characters in my novel-in-progress has synesthesia, so I’m reading Ramachandran’s book about his research into synesthesia (and, more generally, the way our brains work). I’m also reading Virginia Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary, an interesting, and often humorous, collection of Woolf’s journal entries on writing (and reading).
“The Tiny Tent Task Force seeks to fill every city with minuscule reminders of Occupy’s continuing presence. Although started in Boston, Tiny Tents have now been seen on three continents. They have appeared in police stations, bailout bank ATMs, train stations, book stores, libraries, college campuses, public parks, and in homes.”
I’ve been on a Herta Muller jag recently having read The Appointment,The Land of Green Plums, Traveling On One Leg and now Passport. I read her for her extraordinary language constellations and patterns–that intensely beautiful and encoded lexicon, her ability to render in a sensate narrative life under the likes of Ceausescu, the Romanian dictator. Deeply affecting, alarming, troubling, but also poignant, engrossing and deeply satisfying.
I find myself spending a lot of time with Amos Tutuola’s The Palm-Wine Drinkard these days. What a bewitching and riveting thing it is–not a book at all it seems–something utterly transfixing.
The Conference of the Birds, Peter Sis’s adaptation of the 12th century Persian poem. I can spend days on a single page.
I’m also reading Erik Ehn’s The Saint Plays. After Stein he is certainly my favorite saint writer!
And lastly, The Preparation of the Novel by Roland Barthes. The perfect book to dip in and of I find. For those of us *always* preparing a novel, it serves as profoundly consoling form of company. This was completed just a short time before Barthes’ death and includes eight plans for the novel that remained unwritten in him.
POETICS OF PLACE – 1/12 6-8 PM @YUMUSEUM. Get your tickets today!
Yeshiva University Museum, Drunken Boat, and Tin House present POETICS OF PLACE, a literary performance and response to the exhibition Prophecy of Place: Quintan Ana Wikswo.
Join us on January 12 for a multimedia performance featuring new fiction and poetry by Drunken Boat editor Ravi Shankar, David and Ruth Gottesman Professor of English at Stern College of Yeshiva University and Drunken Boat author Joy Ladin, and Yeshiva University Honors College Artist-in-Residence Quintan Ana Wikswo reading from her new short story in Tin House.
6pm: Exhibition walk-through with the artist and exhibition curator
7pm: Performance and a conversation with the writers by Ravi Shankar, and introduction by Joanne Jacobson, Professor of English at Yeshiva University
The event is free, but reservations are required. www.smarttix.com or (212) 868-4444 .
Sponsored by Yeshiva University Museum, Drunken Boat, and Tin House