Library Books/What Next?

May 15th, 2011

I went to the library the other night intending just to return The Quickening Maze and to pick up just one book I had on hold, but you know how that goes, right? I left with not one but five books, and now I get to pick which to read next.

Library Books

From top to bottom, here’s what I got:
The Golden Age by Michal Ajvaz: I read and really liked The Other City by Ajvaz last June, and I hope I like this one just as much. The back cover calls it “a fantastical travelogue by a modern-day Gulliver about a civilization he once encountered on a tiny island in the Atlantic,” but then gets even more interesting-sounding: the civilization is centered around “the Book, a handwritten, collective novel filled with feuding royal families, murderous sorcerers, and narrow escapes.”

How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu: I actually had this one checked out of the library at the start of this month, and got about forty pages into it but then had to return it because someone else had it on hold. This will probably be the one I end up starting first, because I’m excited to get back to it. It’s about a man whose parents immigrated to the US from Ethiopia and about that man’s retracing of his parents’ sort-of-honeymoon trip from Peoria to Nashville, but also about his family history more generally.

That This by Susan Howe: I don’t think I’ve ever read a whole book of Howe’s poems, and this one isn’t entirely poetry: the first part is an essay about Howe’s husband’s (unexpected) death, which the back cover says includes references to “paintings by Poussin, an autopsy, Sarah Edwards and her sister-in-law Hannah, phantoms, and elusive remnants.” Then comes a section of collages of Hannah Edwards Wetmore’s diary entries, then a final section of poems by Howe.

The Ada Poems by Cynthia Zarin: my boyfriend spotted this on the shelf and asked if I’d heard of it. Yes, and I’ve been meaning to read it. I think I first read about it in this post over at the NYPL blog, and then the April poem-a-day email list from Knopf included one of the poems.

In Office Hours by Lucy Kellaway: I read about this one over at litlove’s blog and it sounded like a satifying read.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

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