Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Speeding Up

After lingering over Daniel Deronda in the most delightful of ways I've found my reading speeding up and spreading out. Over the weekend I completed my third reading of Kawabata's Snow Country, partly inspired by the fact I've started the year teaching it to one class and even after the second reading felt pretty unsure as to what the writer was up to. I'm still not all that sure, by the by, but the puzzlement seems to me part of the response intended.

At the same time as exploring the more extreme regions of Japan as explored in Kawabata's fiction I found myself in downtown Tokyo in Daryl Yam's Kappa Quartet. I'd started on this in late November and enjoyed the opening few pages, but then put it aside as I didn't think (rightly as it turned out) that I'd get time to read it in the UK. Anyway, I'm now moving ahead with it and it's a bit of a page-turner.

But not quite enough of one to have stopped me from buying Elvis Costello's memoir Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink. This has been on my radar since I saw a hardback of it a few months ago and decided to hold off until the paperback came out. And now I've got it I 'm finding it predictably addictive reading. Fortunately it's written in short, digressively anecdotal chapters, each circling round a distinct theme or sequence of memories so it's not so difficult to put down despite being unputdownable.

Oh, and I'm chugging along quite nicely in Sean O'Brien's collection The Beautiful Librarians. This was one of the two poetry titles I purchased with my book tokens late last year and it turns out to have been a good choice, despite being entirely random. The blurb refers to the poems as Audenesque and that's fair comment, though O'Brien tends to be a bit more opaque than the Master, which, considering Auden's occasional opacities is quite an achievement.

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