The one thing I haven’t got in my sidebar is one of those little widgets with a statement about what I’m reading and what I’m listening to. I’m not going to do one either, because it’s too much work. Plus, the people who do them never change them, so it looks like they’re been reading the same book for a year. I want to do an inventory though, so I’ll just list them. Since I moved to a bigger apartment, I find I’m reading in two rooms instead of just one, so I’ll list the books by room.
On (or under) my bedside table:
Dorthy Sayers, Five Red Herrings
Sara Paretsky, Blacklist
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyyam tr. Edward Fitzgerald (published 1947) *
In the living room:
James Joyce, Ulysses (I found out there’s two different versions–one unexpurgated. Don’t know which one I have.)
Beryl Markham, West with the Night
Hugh Kenner, The Pound Era (the only library book in the entire place)
Right away I’m going to admit to finishing the Paretsky book today and cross it out. Then I’ll add a book I picked up and started reading today,
P.G. Wodehouse, Very Good, Jeeves.
This will go on (or under) the night stand, for sure.
The Paretsky had a surprise in it. When I got back from Jordan I got Total Recall at a booksigning and as she signed my book, I told her about leaving her last novel in Jordan due to weight restrictions. Blacklist is the next one in line and guess what, two minor characters knew each other from “their Peace Corps days in Jordan”. I’d like to think she said hi to me in her book. Oh, and her birthday is the same day as A.J.P. Crown’s, June 8, 1947, only not the same year.
Up next? Looking at the list, I see I’ve gotten pretty far afield of my original interest in the middle east. I have a couple by Fatima Mernissi, whose insight into Middle East culture I have been impressed by before. I also now have Natalie Zemon Davis’ Trickster Travels, about the 16th century Muslim world. For theologians, I have the rogue Bishop John Shelby Spong as well as Marcus Borg. And a freshly signed copy of Salman Rushdie’s The Enchantress of Florence, for a look at Machiavelli’s time.
And what am I listening to? Pimsleur’s Arabic language tapes. Annie Lennox’s Medusa, and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah on YouTube. Over and over.
Yes, I’ve gotten *very* sidetracked into western literature, trying to see them through the eyes of bloggers who devour them, but who knows, maybe that’s not a Bad Thing.
*Update: the Rubiyat is now online. You can read all five versions, compare one version of a verse with another, and even make comments. But how can that ever compare with handling something like this–a cloth bound book that is older than I am: