First of all, in writing news, I now have three posts up on Book Riot, and I will be writing for them regularly. I’m excited about this! I’ll be reviewing books for other sites as well, so I’ll be busy writing, writing, writing. It should be fun. I wrote one post on teaching and not “getting” books (my students and me), one post on Jane Austen’s contemporaries, and one on how to approach the work of Maggie Nelson. I have some thoughts about what I want to do next, but we’ll see!
As for reading, I’ve read the forthcoming reissue of Maggie Nelson’s The Red Parts, originally published in 2009, and I reread her 2007 book Jane: A Murder because those two books cover some of the same material. I love both of these and you should be hearing more about The Red Parts from me soon.
I also read a memoir by Alain Mabanckou called The Lights of Pointe-Noire. I had mixed feels about this one and rushed through the last 40 pages or so because I wasn’t loving it. Mabanckou was born in the Congo, and this book tells the story of his return after many years away. It describes his meetings with people from the town and the town itself, and it offers an interesting glimpse of the life and culture of Pointe-Noire. Mabanckou tells stories from his childhood as well. There were some very engaging moments as Mabanckou describes his interactions with family members and townspeople, but I thought it was a little too meandering and could have used more forward momentum. The book includes photographs of some of the people he writes about, and those I liked very much.
I also read Leila Aboulela’s The Kindness of Enemies, which I thought was very good, and which you will be hearing more about from me soon.
Now I’m beginning Wrapped in Rainbows, a biography of Zora Neale Hurston, which I’m reading as a member of the Women’s Lives Club, started by the writer Rachel Syme. I found out about it from Rachel’s tweets and joined immediately, although I wasn’t and still am not sure I can read every book they choose. Last month they read Janet Malcolm’s book The Silent Woman, which I’ve read before and loved. I would have loved to read it again, but had no time for it. But I’m giving this month’s book a go. It’s a fabulous club and anybody who wants to is welcome to join.
And next week the Tournament of Books begins! So much to do, so much to read.