I’ve been enjoying starting new books — what greater pleasure is there than diving in to a new book? One of them is Ursula LeGuin’s Left Hand of Darkness; I’m about 40 pages into it and think I’ve figured out what’s going on — it takes a while to get all the new names and new vocabulary and the rules of a new world when reading science fiction — or when reading any book, really, but science fiction especially. It promises to be fun. It’s the first science fiction I’ve read in, oh, probably a couple decades. Perhaps when I’m finished with this I’ll ask for more recommendations.
I also began Bruce Chatwin’s travel book In Patagonia. I’m still figuring out how this book works, too, although once I figure it out I think I’ll end up liking it. Actually, it’s not so different from beginning Left Hand of Darkness because I also have to figure out the “world” of the book — before I began it, I barely knew where Patagonia was. And I have to figure out exactly how Chatwin goes about writing a travel tale. It’s not exactly a straightforward narrative, but is made up of very short chapters, 1-2 pages long, each with their own vignette. So far there’s not much discussion of why he traveled and how he went about all the little steps of the trip — all the connective tissue of the journey; instead, he focuses on interesting people he meets and on the landscape, and he moves really quickly from one incident to the next. It’s amusing — he’ll mention walking down a road, running into a man walking the other direction, and next thing I know, Chatwin is visiting the man’s house, getting introduced to his family, and spending the night there. I’m not exactly sure how they got from passing each other to becoming friends. As far as I can tell, he’s a drifter who sleeps in a bed when he can get one, and behind a bush when he can’t.
I also began listening to Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, and oh, what a fun book! I love the reader’s voice and accent, and I find the main character so very appealing. Listening to it makes me want to meet him and show him that I get it — that I’m not one of those annoying people who uses sloppy language and tells lies. This book is so charming.