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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Recommendations from friends, and family - what to read next?

Taking suggestions from friends as to what I should read next, esp. while traveling. Have been following friend/family suggestions for a while, usually w/ positive results (my friends and family members have good taste!, or at least know the limitations of my taste), e.g., it was Cousin Fred who directed me toward Robertson Davies's Deptford trilogy (he has mentioned it to me for many years), and I am enjoying reading those books at present. Last night friend PP strongly encouraged me to read Amos Oz's recent memoir, comparing in favorably to the work of an author we both have been enjoying, Karl Ove Knausgaard. As I have posted before, I bear a grudge against Oz, who declined a polite interview request when he read at Brown many years ago (he was perfectly willing to grant interviews to larger publications such as the NYT), but maybe I can overcome that animus and give his newest book a chance. (Sorry to be so stubborn.) Radio host Frank Prostnitz, who interviewed me recently on his show, suggested I read Alan Paton's Cry, The Beloved Country - published in I think 1948. There was a time when everyone (except me, I guess) was reading this novel, about racism and apartheid in South Africa. My guess would be that the novel would feel dated and perhaps condescending (like A McCall Smith's Africa-based popular novels?), but who knows, I may give it a look. Also on the list: Book Group next selection is Jane Austen's Persuasion (her last completed novel, I think), which I read so long ago it was practically a contemporary novel. And another author I've been meaning to get back to: Sebald, one of my all-time faves, who I've been thinking about as we consider plans for a trip to Europe. Last night we were discussing French RR and in particular the train stations of Paris, and OM mentioned that the old Gare Austerlitz is now used for freight only - and that made me think about Sebald's Austerlitz, in which I think there is a section in which the protagonist enters a RR station and passes through a doorway and finds himself in a vast, abandoned RR waiting room - that must be the old Gare Austerlitz, with its abandoned passenger facilities, right?

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