Home, Marilynne Robinson: I loved Gilead, and it is a pleasure and feels like a gift to spend time with this prose. Reading Robinson, for me, takes a lot of focus, and I find myself rereading lines often, but the reward for this pace is a calmness lifting up off the pages, and a careful generous dipping into a deep and beautiful well. She is the opposite and maybe even an antidote to fast-paced technology.
Big Machine, Victor LaValle: A wonderfully interesting and resonant read. Two scenes in this book in particular are still so vivid to me that I could probably tell you about them in detail without glancing at the pages; they are etched on the brain.
About a Mountain, John D’Agata: The momentum he builds, by the end! The layering, the surprises, the way he does not use the double space break… somehow this book feels like he’s thinking/dreaming up facts on the spot; they are that available to the prose, that effortlessly flowing along.
Dearest Creature, Amy Gerstler: There’s an amazing poem about a dog’s view on shit that is full of dignity and depth. But I kept rereading the first poem– it took awhile to move past it, I found it so moving.
The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway: I’d never read this one before– still am thinking about what a simple, deep story he tells. The story has the classic mythic feel of a long-lasting fable or tale, in how it’s hard to imagine it didn’t exist before– like he plucked it off a tree, or dug it from the ground. But it’s also a complicated study of regret and disappointment and aging, so even though the plot movement is direct and unfussy, there’s real nuance in what lingers with a reader.
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