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Current Reading

Musing Mondays2

This week’s musing asks:

What are you currently reading? Would you recommend it to others? Is it part of a series (if so, which one)? What are you thinking about it? What book(s) would you compare it to, if any?

I just finished Home by Marilynne Robinson (shortlisted for Orange Prize 2009). I realized the predecessor, Gilead, has introduced all of the characters in Home even though it’s not a sequel. Ratings of Home are very extreme: that is the reason for my holding back for a long time. It’s literary fiction, meaning the writing is more meditative—more of a choreography of words and curlicue of sentences than a linear progression of events. The style actually mirrors to that of the winner of Orange Prize that year, Molly Fox’s Birthday by Deirdre Madden. At the moment I’m re-reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, focusing on specially Gatsby’s passion Daisy, who is married to an arrogant alpha male-type Tom Buchanan. This novel always breathes new (personal) meaning and depth to me:

He wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: “I never loved you.” After she had obliterated three years with that sentence they could decide upon the more practical measures to be taken. One of them was that, after she was free, they were to go back to Louisville and be married from her house—just as if it were five years ago. [VI, 116]

A wife and a mistress—slipping precipitately from one’s control. Some bad drama is inevitable. At about a chapter per week I’m perusing The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham by Selina Hastings. It’s well-written and well-researched account of one of my favourite authors. It vividly presents his lonely childhood spent with unloving relatives (reminds me of Dickens novels) after the death of his parents, a trauma that resulted in shyness, a stammer, and for the rest of his life an acute emotional vulnerability that he worked hard to conceal. I am most interested in his secret lives with men—the sexuality that he has denied even after his disastrous marriage to Syrie Wellcome, who trapped him him with pregnancy and an attempted suicide.

14 Responses

  1. gosh, it has been so, so long since I read The Great Gatsby, I really should read that again.

  2. I loved the Great Gatsby and have read it a few times. I could still easily read it again and really should. After reading your post on Home, I have added Marilynne Robinson’s books to my wishlist.

    • Gatsby is my favorite Fitzgerald book. Having read The Beautiful and Damned, This Side of Paradise, and Tender is the Night, Gatsby still holds a very special place in my heart. It’s sad in a beautiful way.

  3. I really need to re-read Gatsby. I think the last time I read that was in high school. Home really scared me. Some people loved it and some couldn’t even finish it! That screamed danger to me.

    • I don’t know how I bypassed Gatsby in high school. Our teacher assigned Tender is the Night instead in 11th grade. I was talking with a friend the other day and I also never read Brave New World in high school or college!

  4. When this 100+ temp heat wave ends here in Michigan, I will be walking and listening to The Great Gatsby and it will be my first time with this book!

  5. I read the Great Gatsby for the first time about a week ago an I thought it was wonderful. I dont think I can write a review for it because it’ll just become paragraphs of me gushing.

    At the moment Im reading the White Tiger which although is very good Im not sure why it won the Booker prize but I do have 100 pages more to go.

    • Fitzgerald is one of the best American prose stylist. I enjoy reading his social commentary when the narrator extracts himself from the social interactions. The book is mesmerizing, romantic, and melancholy.

  6. I haven’t read Gatsby in ages, but I do remember truly enjoy that novel. Such a good read!

    As for me, I just finished reading The Passage and it is definitely a book that I would recommend to everyone. Such a fantastically, gripping book!

    • You have to read Gatsby. Although it’s a sad story, it also beholds hope and reassures love. It’s a gripping story about how the pursuit for love has gone awry.

  7. I’m reading Kiran Desai – The Inheritance of Loss. I would definitely recommend it to everyone, it’s a fanstastic story, greatly developed characters, imagery so lush … it reminds me some of Arundhati Roy

    • The Inheritance of Loss has been on my reading list for a long time. I need to get my act together and pick it up. 🙂 It might seem shocking to you that I couldn’t finish The God of Small Things.

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