This week I seem to be reading about madness – first with Freud’s Sister (Goce Smilevski), then with Swimming Home (Deborah Levy), and finally with Breakfast of Champions (Kurt Vonnegut) – each with their own take on the issue of mental illness. Right now my head is feeling a little like a pinball machine so it may take me a while to process the connections and disconnections between the three. I am looking forward to my book group’s discussion of the Vonnegut Monday night. For movies I went to go see Tarantino’s film Django Unchained. It was quite a stretch for me as I tend to stay away from Tarantino’s films, I am glad I went. Now I have to decide if I am willing to give up my day next Saturday to see 3 of the 4 best movie pictures I haven’t seen.
Here is what caught my interest this week:
Since so much of my time lately has been spent watching movies or discussing movies it seems somewhat appropriate that one of the first books that caught my attention this week was Mark Kermode’s The Good, The Bad, and The Multiplex – reviewed by Eve’s Alexandria. The non-fiction book sounds like a marvelous rant about movies, movie theaters, the powers-that-be of movie making, and a general look at the state of the industry today. Many of these subjects my friends and I have discussed after our Friday movie date – everything from why have a blockbuster nominated for best picture, to why isn’t Hitchcock nominated more, to the whisper campaign against Zero Dark Thirty. Putting this one on the to-read list.
I have always thought of heaven as a place where you find out everything you have always wanted to know. And you get to see what happens in the world after you have gone. Bibliosue reviews a book in which this happens – The Late, Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow. Molly Marx finds herself in the afterlife with the police and her family wondering if she was murdered, committed suicide, or was it a simple accident. As Molly watches friends and family cope, she relives her past. While the subject of the novel is the death of an individual, the author interjects a lot of fun into it as well. Sounds just right when you want something a little different to read.
The women who surround famous men is, for me, a fascinating topic. Adolfina Freud is little known and yet according to novelist Goce Smilevski, she had a definite role to play in her brother’s work as did Freud’s daughter, Anna. If you are interested in this topic, Jennifer of a Literate Housewife reviews The Wives: The Women Behind Russia’s Literary Giants by Alexandra Popoff. Sophia Tolstoy, Vera Nabokov, Elena Bulgakov, Nadezdha Mandelstam, Anna Dostevsky, and Natalya Solzhenitsyn each have a chapter explaining their role in their husband’s writing and how they promoted and protected their husband’s literary career. This sounds like a good “by the bedstand” book as each chapter stands alone so you can browse through it at your leisure.
Winston’s Dad has once again given my a book to consider with his review of Santiago Gamboa’s Necropolis (translated by Howard Curtis). I am immediately drawn to the book because the unnamed narrator is invited to attend the International Congress of Biography and Memory in Jerusalem. There is an eclectic mixture of attendees – who tell their live stories. The conference serves as a framework, or Necropolis, for these tales of life, love, God, Satan, truth, fiction, and a host of other topics.
For those of you with electronic readers, Heavenali has a review of a Linda Gillard book that I was unaware of – Untying the Knot. I loved Gillard’s House of Silence as well as Emotional Geology. Both books were very different from each other – a strength of Gillard. The knot in this novel is a tangled web of relationships – past, present, and future as a former wife joins together with her newly engaged ex-husband to ensure their daughter’s happiness.
Finally, Danielle of A Work in Progress has another list of thirteen books – with this list focused on women and war. The book that most interests me (Women of the World: The Great Foreign Correspondents by Julia Edwards) may be hard to find, but there are many on the list that sound just as intriguing.