Currently reading and a giveaway

I have two books on my shelves that I don’t need and would like to give away to anyone who is interested:

  1. Sarah Bakewell’s How to Live: Or, A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer. It turns out I have two copies of this book and only need one.
  2. Peter Carey’s Parrot and Olivier in America. A copy of this book randomly showed up at my house last summer, and I’ve been thinking about whether I want to read it since then, and it turns out I don’t. But someone else might.

If you are interested in either of these books, just leave a comment telling me which one. If there is more than one person interested, I’ll do a drawing. Deadline is Tuesday of next week, midnight. I’m happy to send the books anywhere, so overseas people are welcome to participate.

As for what I’m currently reading, How to Live is one of the books. I’ve read a chapter so far, and it’s good — a little on Montaigne’s life and the purpose of the essays, and a vignette about how Montaigne almost died as a young man and how this changed his thinking about life and death. It’s a biography, but, it seems, not the sort that tells the subject’s story from beginning to end, and I like that.

Also, Joyce Carol Oates’s A Widow’s Story. I read an excerpt of this in The New Yorker and thought it was very good, so now I’m reading the whole thing. It continues to be good, but harrowing, as you might expect.

I’m also slowly reading “Religio Medici” by Sir Thomas Browne as part of my long-term essay project. Browne isn’t an essayist, exactly, but he appears on John D’Agata’s The Lost Origins of the Essay, and writes in a very interesting personal voice, so it’s appropriate. I’m not particularly interested in learning about the religious conflicts Browne writes about, but his overall attitude and tone are enjoyable. “Hydriotaphia” will be next.

Also Marge Piercy’s poems from The Moon is Always Female, which is good so far, and I hope to start Tove Jannson’s The Summer Book for the Slaves of Golconda soon.

I hope you have an enjoyable bookish weekend!


Filed under Books, Fiction, Nonfiction

19 responses to “Currently reading and a giveaway

  1. Aw, heck, I’ve been looking for that book on Montaigne everywhere. How to Live: Or, A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer! Read some of his essays for the first time recently, and it just made me hungry for more. Sigh.

    Happy reading!


  2. I’m curious about the Montaigne, I’d love a copy if you consider overseas bloggers. Have a nice weekend!


  3. I’m also interested in the Blakewell. Heck, I’m interested in the Carey as well, but I already own my own copy.


  4. Rachel

    I’m interested in Peter Carey’s book! It’s been on my wishlist for a while. Thanks for the giveaway.


  5. I would love to read the Montaigne. I have it on my library list, but there’s a long line of other people with reservations as well. If you’re sure about sending it abroad then I would be grateful to be in the draw. Thank you.


  6. I sometimes recommend to people to omit reading the first nine sections of Religio Medici to skip the theological technicalities to get straight to the psychological portrait of an idiosyncratic mystic.

    Urn-burial ought not to be read without also reading its diptych mirror companion The Garden of Cyrus as Browne utterly intended them to be read together. Again chapter three of Cyrus can be skipped to avoid the technical botanical observations. Together they are quite a significant artistic creation. I would recommend them more in style and in preference to R.M. in terms of artistry rather than Browne’s labyrinthine self-portrait. Will be interested in your perceptions after reading.


  7. I’m interested in both of them… I suppose I would prioritise the Montaigne because it’s much harder to get hold of in the UK. Thanks!


  8. Throw my hat in the ring for Parrot & Olivier in America, if you would…love Carey and don’t yet have a copy of this. And was forced to read Tocqueville in college, which I knew would come in handy eventually and am now convinced the purpose was in order to more fully appreciate this novel.


  9. Since I can get both books at the library where I work I’ll let someone else have a chance to read them, but I do like the sound of the Montaigne book. I wonder if it is a good place to start if I’ve not really read much by him? I’ve never read any of Marge Piercy’s poetry (because as you know I am not a good poetry reader), but I loved and read twice her novel Gone to Soldiers. Have a great weekend!


  10. I don’t dare put myself in the draw – Mister Litlove will murder me if I bring any more books home! But I do like the sound of your reading and will be picking up the Bakewell myself in the next day or so. I’ll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it, and the JCO (who is such a disturbing writer but a very compelling one).


  11. I was gonna pass, having been such a whore for blogger book giveaways lately, but now I’m thinking, “What the hell?” So, you might as well put me in for both. If I win either one, don’t bother to send it. I will personally come and pick it up (I mean, it’s about time I got myself back up there, isn’t it?)


  12. I’d love the Montaigne! My favorite poem by Piercy is Barbie Doll.


  13. Eva

    I’m very interested in the Blakewell: I’d love to finally give Montaigne a go this year! 🙂 From your impressions so far, it sounds like if I don’t win it I’ll definitely be requesting it from the library.


  14. After hauling back books and DVDs from Boxing Day sales, I’m feeling guilty just to step into a bookstore to browse. These two books sound good especially the Montaigne, but I will have to let it pass this time. Thanks anyway!


  15. jane

    I would love the Bakewell – I’ve seen it in a load of bookshops in London recently and am dying to read it myself! Just a few months ago I read some of Montaigne’s essays and am really glad that he seems to be getting the revival he deserves. Apparently Will Self is a fan (not sure how well known he would be in the US….).
    The Joyce Carol Oates sounds great — I was intrigued by the New Yorker article too. In a similar vein I love the sound of Antonia Fraser’s ‘Must You Go?’ about her life with and marriage to the late Harold Pinter. You might enjoy that too!


  16. Would appreciate a shot at Parrot and Olivier. I have been warned off of it a few times but am still intrigued by the premise. Thanks for the offer!


  17. michelle

    Hi, am really interested in the Montaigne and would love to be in the draw, but at the same time I do feel bad if you have to take the trouble to send it abroad. Thanks for such a generous offer though! Much appreciated. Happy reading there….


  18. I am glad to hear the book on Montaigne is off to a good start since I have it in waiting. I don’t have the Peter Carey book though, so toss my name in the hat for that one 🙂 I’ll be starting The Summer Book tomorrow on my commute. I am looking forward to a warm book since tomorrow’s high temperature is only going to be 6!


  19. Just a quick note to say I hope you’re enjoying the Tove Jansson book as much as I did. Now all we need is the summer weather to match in real life.


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