I recently reread The Unbearable Lightness of Being after listening to a friend describe her trip to Prague. I’d loved it at 20 and loved it this time too but was most struck with how many of his phrases felt familiar– I had retained a lot of the rhythm of the book which I don’t usually do. I love the measured quality to the writing– it circles its ideas and characters deliberately, with real feeling and distance at the same time.
Reading Jim Krusoe’s Parsifal which is strange and lovely and gently told and involves a protagonist who is an expert in fountain pens.
Reading Selma Fraiberg’s The Magic Years about early childhood development– it was a classic in its time and is somewhat dated and also still highly readable and really interesting about young children/babies and what they perceive.
Read Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red– I’d been intimidated by this book for a while because it sounded so heady in descriptions and I’m so glad I finally settled into it– there’s such sweetness in this character, such charm and joy and sexiness alongside her expert weaving in of myth.
Reread Borges’ story “The Garden of Forking Paths” to discuss with a small group of friends recently and what I love about Borges is kind of the same thing I was trying to describe about Kundera’s measured feel. Borges is a writer of great feeling who seems to access it through built worlds and abstractions which burrow their way into a reader differently– he’s full of ideas, but he’s not cold. Not by a long shot. It was a good discussion with the group, particularly about the end and the narrator’s regret and what it’s made of.
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