As Opposed to the Mall

One of the pleasures of a four-day weekend is the prospect of digging into the sort of reading that can't be sandwiched into the end of a working day.  Thanksgiving itself, for many people, is given over to the communal pleasures of cooking and eating a monumental meal, but there's Friday and Saturday, and not everyone is going shopping.  Somewhere in there, some of us are thinking about settling down with those long books one wants to just sink into.


Personally, I'm on a bit of a Dickens kick right now, having immersed myself for some time in Michael Slater's new biography of the writer (see the image to the right).  So I'm looking forward to a bit of space over the weekend to re-read one of his novels -- the question is, which one?  The well-worn but beloved pages of David Copperfield always beckon, and although Great Expectations is over-familiar from mulitple encounters during school, one can always encounter something new.  There is the dark grandeur in Our Mutual Friend, which more than deserves another reading -- or, on the opposite end of things, I'm always rewarded when I pick up The Pickwick Papers for a burst of Dickens at his most playful (though I have rarely felt compelled to follow Mr. Pickwick's adventures all the way through).


But I think I'm most likely to return to  Bleak House, which I haven't looked at again since seeing the effectively serialized BBC adaptation back in 2006.    Its combination of mystery, melodrama, social critique and romance is invariably addictive.   Not sure I'll get it all in -- but then I'll have something to look forward to finishing on the subway when the work week starts again.


What will you be reading over this weekend?





April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."