Year in Reading

Year in Reading: Andrew Saikali

By posted at 1:15 pm on December 8, 2007 2

The first half of 2007 was a Dark Age of reading for me. Virtually every time I sat down with even the most promising book, my mind would float to the massive Redesign project headaches we were having at the newspaper. I couldn’t relax, I couldn’t get drawn in. I was in the wrong frame of mind to read. I was in the frame of mind to brood.

coverAnd then, as things do, the darkness cleared, and a new age of enlightenment began. And I began to read and absorb as if I’d just regained my sight. I began with Michael Chabon, an author I’d only heard of at that point. Very quickly I devoured two collections of short stories and three of his novels. His first novel, Mysteries of Pittsburgh and the collection A Model World introduced me to his storytelling and Wonder Boys and, especially, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay showed me the full depth and breadth of his writing.

coverOther highlights of the year include George Saunders’ Pastoralia, a fiction collection brimming with wit and insight, and A Field Guide To The North American Family, the illustrated novella from my Millions cohort Garth Risk Hallberg, whose intertwined tale of the Hungate and Harrison families, with its tight prose – somehow simultaneously economical and gloriously open, and its shifting point-of-view and tone, and thematically-linked photos, is nothing short of fascinating, both in concept and execution.

coverAnd capping the year, on the heels of my Hemingwayesque sojourn in Paris, was a re-read of A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway’s memoir of his formative years in 1920s Paris. Each vignette reads as a precise, evocative short story, and the collection is not only my favorite memoir of that era, but also my favorite Hemingway book. And my top read of 2007.

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2 Responses to “Year in Reading: Andrew Saikali”

  1. franQ
    at 8:15 am on December 10, 2007

    I wouldn't waste time (or $$) on the soon-to-be released movie version of THE MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH, esp. if you enjoyed the book.

    In case you haven't heard, over 85%of the original story has been CHANGED!

    No more (I repeat, "No more") gay Arthur Lecomte… Phlox has been reduced to Art's "sometimes girlfriend" and get this… Cleveland is BISEXUAL! (You don't even want to know what he and Art end up doing together.) As for Jane, well it seems she's stolen the show as "leading lady" in the guise of Sienna "Shittsburgh" Miller!

    Really, it's a mess… I have the screenplay if you'd like to see for yourself. Email me: bechstein[at]yahoo[dot]com

  2. Andrew Saikali
    at 3:55 pm on December 10, 2007

    Very odd. I know that novels get sliced and diced before hitting the screen, even when the author is on board, and often the result could still be a strong film. One mustn't be stiflingly protective, I suppose.

    But, that said, to scrap the Arthur character ?? I thought he was singularly the most interesting character in the whole book, and a catalyst for the main guy's development. I guess that role goes to Cleveland now, but that's a hell of a change.

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