Friday, 26 June 2009

Holiday Reading

I am off tomorrow to Sardinia for a week's break (trusting in the taxi company to turn up at 4.30am...). I dislike the process of travelling, but enjoy being on holiday. Considering we are firmly on a 'sun lounger by pool' drive I am taking what I hope are enough books (I read quickly).

1. Francois Cussett's French Theory: How Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, & Co. Transformed the Intellectual Life of the United States
Recommended by the Institute this seems suitably gossipy and low-brow for my tastes, already the anecdotes about Lotringer have amused me. I have shown unusually iron will by not reading further.

2. Shirley Jackson, The Lottery and other stories
I actually wanted to get one of the novels, as I liked The Haunting of Hill House (1959) (great cover in this edition, which is the one I have), but will have to make do with the short stories.

3. Roberto Bolano, The Savage Detectives
I've been warned on this one, but it's long (good for holiday) and I've read most of the others translated into English. I particularly like the fake memoirs of right-wing / fascist / Nazi writers. It's interesting how reviewers also identify them as 'failed' or 'bad' writers, implying that fascists / Nazis by definition cannot be good writers; I don't get that from the stories by Bolano, but rather a more disturbing sense of how like other writers they are.

One history book is essential and as I did once write a book on death this seemed appropriate as I know little about the American Civil War but have also been interested in it as one of the first instances of 'total' technological war.

5. Elfride Jelinek, Greed
To my shame I've never read any Jelinek, but Austrian misery should be great in the sun (try Bernhard's Concrete, but not if you are writing a book / essay / thesis).

6. JG Ballard, Miracles of Life
In tribute

7. Eliza Haywood, Love and Excess
18thC furries fun (so I'm told)

Steve's reading sounds good as well.

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