Indexing: Brontë for kicks, Lipsyte update, James Salter, The Brothers Karamazov, and more

Jason Diamond
In regards to my Indexing from last week, a reader e-mailed me to tell me that, “I saw Lipsyte read at The New School last fall and I asked him what was next after The Ask …. his answer — drum roll please — a short story collection, 2012.  Sounded like his recent New Yorker stories will be part of the collection.”  So that’s quite exciting.

I’ve become obsessed with Law & Order: Criminal Intent reruns over the last few weeks.  I’m living with a television in my apartment for the first time in nearly a decade, so I’ve been getting caught up on things I’ve missed out on.  I’ve got a list of shows from The Wire (I know, I know…) to Friday Night Lights to cover; but since I’ve come to the realization that if you’ve got 500 channels, somewhere, somehow, somebody is playing an episode of Law & Order.  (in most cases, Sleuth is the network where I get my Criminal Intent fix.)

I’ve been so heavy into book research, that it has seriously hindered my ability to read through a lot of fiction.  For whatever reason, I picked up my copy of The Bronte Sisters: Three Novels, and read Wuthering Heights.  I’m unsure why of all the books I have sitting near my desk at any given moment, I picked that, but I had to go through the process of moving several other books around to get to it, so there was some obvious reason that I can’t figure out.  Oddly enough, it was the only Brontë book I’ve ever read, aside from Jane Eyre — which I have an undying love for.

I figure if you’d like an opinion on the book, you could probably take a walk to your library and find 300 different volumes of criticism on the book, so I won’t bore you with it (plus, I couldn’t really say anything better than what I’m sure has been said), but I will say that it is interesting which books we pick when we aren’t sure what else to read, and how much easier it is to enjoy it when you dive into the book for the sheer sake of reading.  (Instead of say, research purposes or review purposes.)

Also caved in and paid for a Spotify account.  I figured that I didn’t have all the XTC albums, I might as well pay the five bucks a month.

Tobias Carroll
Much of this week’s reading has been consumed by Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. It’s my second time reading it (the first in this translation), and…there isn’t too much I can say about it that hasn’t been said by others. Though I will say that reading it after having read Dead Souls makes me more aware of Dostoyevsky’s nod to Gogol’s novel, which made me chuckle just a bit.

Misha Glouberman and Sheila Heti’s The Chairs Are Where The People Go came recommended by many folks whose taste in books I respect (including Mr. Diamond.) I enjoyed it most when Glouberman discussed his take on group interactions, formed from the classes he’s taught in Toronto over the years; some of the musings on urban life seemed more matter-of-fact than insightful. (Though admittedly, I end up reading a lot of writers who comment on urban policymaking, so I suspect I’m not the typical reader with respect to this aspect of the book.) Between the authors of this book and the folks behind Back to the World, there’s a lot of interesting literature coming out of Toronto these days, I daresay.

Also read James Salter’s Dusk and Other Stories — more of his excellent, shifting prose and evocations of distant cities. It’s a short and memorable collection, though I found myself less drawn to Salter’s less tolerant characters — a few seemed antagonistic for the sake of antagonism, rather than emerging as well-developed people.

After this week’s release party for Lev Grossman’s The Magician King, I’ve begun delving into the book in question. Presently, I’m looking forward to finishing that and beginning Geoff Dyer’s The Missing of the Somme and Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Atonement.

1 comment