In this latest update, Doug returns to some classics, fills some holes, and roots for the home team.
What’s by my bed now:
Orwell and more Orwell: Down and Out in Paris and London, Burmese Days, and essays (ebooks). Ever since I read “How the Poor Die” some years back, I’ve been meaning to return to Orwell. Now I am.
Twain, Life on the Mississippi (ebook). Another gaping hole I’m finally going to fill. And there’s a tie-in with Orwell. According to Christopher Hitchens, Orwell was fascinated by Twain’s depiction of the Mississippi and hoped someday to raft down it. Unfortunately, Hitchens rafted a different river first, and missed his chance.
Back to Methuselah, Shaw. A socialist, hung out with Hollywood celebs, co-founded the London School of Economics, wrote a load of plays. Back to Methuselah is five, count ’em five plays that cover something like 30,000 years. Shaw’s plays read well, and I’m looking forward to this.
Jennie Fields, The Age of Desire. So many good things have been said and written about the book. And it’s by Jennie Fields, a friend and admired classmate at Iowa. And it’s about Edith Wharton. Three-for-three. Of course I want to read it.
Shirley Jackson: Novels and Stories collected by Joyce Carol Oates. Like all of us, I’ve read “The Lottery” and heard about Jackson’s reputation as a master of the unsettling. In addition to publishing a new book every 17 days, Joyce Carol Oates was destined to edit this collection.
Edward Teller’s Memoir. Teller, a brilliant Hungarian refugee (brilliance was common among them), was known as “the father of the hydrogen bomb.” He relished the title and doted on his offspring. His other child was the strategic defense initiative, nicknamed the star wars space defense. What a family.
A couple recent New Yorkers.
Any literary holes you want to fill?