Almost time to celebrate spring by wandering outside for long enough to need a good book to read. The following are currently available on Amazon in either Kindle or paper editions:
- SWANN’S WAY BY MARCEL PROUST. Remarkably ornate sentences, dripping complex phrases that require multiple re-readings, do not make this an easy read. But, savored in small portions like some sinfully delicious dessert, no higher heaven of delicately sensual feeling exists. Personally, I prefer the translation by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin. While it may not technically be the word-for-word closest to the original French, I believe it translates Proust’s extraordinarily elegant mind into English the best.
- HEART OF DARKNESS BY JOSEPH CONRAD. Alas, no one has ever been so painfully unaware of their own genius as Joseph Conrad, when he summarizes the eight hours a day he spent writing by saying, “I write three sentences, which I erase before leaving the table in despair.” This from a writer capable of, “The idleness of a passenger, my isolation amongst all these men with whom I had no point of contact, the oily and languid sea, the uniform sombreness of the coast, seemed to keep me away from the truth of things, within the toil of a mournful and senseless delusion.”
- ALL THE NAMES BY JOSÉ SARAMAGO. This man did not win the Nobel Prize for literature for nothing. No one else could write a believable scene in a mainstream novel in which a lonely, lowly clerk talks to the ceiling…and the ceiling talks back.
- THE SHELTERING SKY BY PAUL BOWLES. Bowles’ seamless marriage of the exotically mysterious and the crushingly mundane is oddly and consistently spellbinding.
- TWISTED BY SUE HOLLISTER BARR. What? You question my objectivity in making this last recommendation?