Snowbound Reading

It's another snow-buried day in the Northeast.  And hence that brings to mind some snowy reading.  Tove Jannson's The True Deceiver,  newly available in English, is the story of a snowbound Scandinavian village and two women -- one an outcast, one a respected citizen, whose paths cross with disturbing results.  Jannson is best known for her Moomintroll stories for children (and her Moominland in Midwinter is another perfect snow-day read, about what happens when a Moomin wakes up accidentally from his family's annual hibernation), but later wrote a number of psychologically acute, brilliantly compact novels for adults.

 

Another classic good to curl up with on a socked-in day?  Adelbert Stifter's Rock Crystal, a luminous novella of two children lost in a snowstorm on Christmas Eve.   In her Reader's Diary column, Brooke Allen calls it " is a deceptively simple tale" and notes that Stifter uses it to raise "grand existential themes."

 

April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.