I had a good time.
The Nicomachean Ethics (4th C. BCE), Aristotle - a post, however shallow, should appear soon.
Joseph in Egypt (1936), Thomas Mann
The Long Valley (1938) &
The Grapes of Wrath (1939), John Steinbeck - I last read this probably forty years ago. The great turtle chapter is still great. It's not Moby-Dick, but the mix of rhetorical modes is brilliant and sophisticated. I have read five Steinbeck books recently and have been enjoying them a lot, kitsch, propaganda, and all.
The World and All It Holds (2023), Aleksandar Hemon - look, a new novel. Written at the usual Hemon level (high), but the subject is grindingly depressing. Hemon shoves his poor protagonist into the world's worst places. Be warned.
LET’S GO TO ITALY
Selected Poetry (1940-73) &
Peasant's Wake for Fellini's Casanova and Other Poems (1986-8), Andrea Zanzotto
To Each His Own (1966), Leonardo Sciascia - this is the only book actually related to where I am going. Another anti-Mafia anti-mystery.
If Not Now, When? (1982), Primo Levi - an adventure novel about Russian Jewish partisans, with barely any Italy in it at all.
Eldorado (2006), Laurent Gaudé - no, this one is about Sicily, too, if distantly. The state of Mediterranean immigration circa 2006. I read it in French, since the Portland, Maine, public library has a copy in French. Good library.
More Was Lost (1946), Eleanor Perényi - a memoir of love and bad timing. A 19 year-old American marries into the Hungarian nobility in 1937. Events ensue. Bad, bad events. Only in her mid-twenties when she wrote the book, her youthful voice is a pleasure amidst the crises and tragedies.
IN FRENCH AND PORTUGUESE
Adonis (1657), Jean de La Fontaine
A Harpa do Crente (1838), Alexandre Herculano - the great Portuguese Romantic poet, his ostentatious tomb dwarfing the Modernist tomb of Fernando Pessoa in the Jerónimos monastery in Lisbon.
Le bleu du ciel (1935/1957), George Bataille
Le Mont Analogue (1944/1952), René Daumal - I have been catching up on mid-century French weirdos. The current Wiki for the Bataille novel says it "deals with necrophilia." The book is in the French decadent tradition, but boy does that give the wrong idea. As metaphor, not wrong.
I still owe a post on Gide's anti-novel The Counterfeiters.