Monday, November 12, 2012

reading: short stories from America, India, Canada, China.. (and: e-book or print?)

I spent some time with my bookshelf last week, looking for the books i haven't read yet, and those i started to read but didn't finish.

A pulitzer prize book, unfinished
One of the books i revisited is Jhumpa Lahiri's first and pulitzer prize-winning short story collection "interpreter of maladies". When I initially read into it, I stopped after the first story, and now gave it a second try with the second story - so glad i did. It's a moving book, and i'm not sure how she does it, but the stories, brief as they are, develop a profound depth. The connecting theme is migration and living in 2 cultures, Lahiri says: "When I first started writing I was not conscious that my subject was the Indian-American experience. What drew me to my craft was the desire to force the two worlds I occupied to mingle on the page as I was not brave enough, or mature enough, to allow in life."

Sunday Short Stories
The book also fits into the theme of the coming week: this week is Short Story Week, and yesterday already brought some good reads via the storysunday twitter share of recommended stories. That's how I arrived at "The Eye" by Alice Munro – a Guardian short story, from her new collection "Dear Life". My own fav story (apart from Lahiri, and very different in style) was a story from the new Words Without Border "Banned Chinese Writers" issue: Chen Xiwo - "The Man with the Knife" (maybe not a morning read). More about short story week, including a best of list, a reading series, a video, here: short story week

Which to take, ebook or print? 
And here's the reason for the shelf browsing: there's some island + reading time upcoming in Lanzarote for me at the end of the month. now the question is: Which books to take, and in which format? I still have the "The Lacuna" from Barbara Kingsolver waiting, unread. It's tempting, but it's a thick read, here's an "aerial" photo:

Just looking at it, it's larger than the e-reader, which can hold an endless number of books - but then, you can't really take an e-reader to the beach. And if i had the choice, i would rather read a longer book as paper book. So it probably will be a mix. "I'd love to take some books in Penguin Classic format," I thought...

America, Marocco, Spain 
...and then went looking, and arrived at a book someone once - in India that was, of all places - recommended to me: "Travels with Charly", by John Steinbeck, a memoir on Steinbeck's journey through America:

And there is another book that i came across last week is: "Leaving Tangier" by Moroccan author Tahar Ben Jelloun - which fits perfectly, as Marocco is not far from Lanzarote. that one arrived through a telephone box. Or rather: through the open book exchange, placed inside an old telephone box (more about that, here: bookphonebox)

With the printed books, i am reading the first 10-20 pages, to see if it's the right book for me & this trip & this time. Looking forward. And really enjoying the side effect of browsing bookshelves. If you have a book recommendation for a Spanish island that is made of volcanoes, let me know :)


It's Monday! What are you reading? This blog post is inspired by the blog series "It's Monday! What are you reading?" which is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. participating blogs are listed in this Linky Book List

Previous reading blog entries are collected here: bookshelf + monday reads. there also is a visual bookshelf, just click it to get there:

Some lines about me: I'm into roads, stories, places, crossings, and all the things they lead and connect to. I edit BluePrintReview and the blueprint book + lit blog. Apart from being an editor and blogger, I am also an author myself. My new book Worlds Apart launched some weeks ago:

Worlds Apart: the true story of 2 friends, 2 journeys, and 10 life lessons  
In the global world, a traveler from Europe and a teacher from Asia meet in the web, share their journeys, and the joys, longings, and life lessons that wait along the road. Captured in letters and photos that reach from China and India to Germany and the Mediterranean Sea, a dialogue across continents and cultures unfolds: Worl(d)s Apart

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