What I Happen to Be Reading At the Moment

"A thirteen-year-old is a kaleidoscope of different personalities, if not in most ways a mere figment of her own imagination. At that age, what and who you are depends largely on what book you happen to be reading at the moment.”

 

While not 13 anymore, the desire to read almost anything and everything in order to read for fun and for experience is still around. I'm currently working on my PhD in a physical science, but I love to read and books are one of my non-science hobbies.

In Love (New York Review Books Classics) - Alfred Hayes People are pretty terrible. Through their actions, upbringing, or decisions, sometimes they can be terribly unkind. Other times, their insecurities break down their relationships and in the process proves to be some fairly good reading if in novel form. The unnamed narrator of In Love is relating the story of his relationship with his girlfriend. In brief, well constructed almost stream of consciousness prose, the reader listens in a smoky post war bar to the story of how this relationship falls apart. On one hand, the offer of $1,000 for a night of sex with some rich person sounds either like completely humiliating prostitution proposition or not bad considering inflation ($1,000 turns out to be about $9,000 in 2013 dollars). Adding in a fairly disastrous first marriage and desire to care for a child and aging parents complicates this decision. What complicates this further is that the narrator's girlfriend is confronted with this conundrum. She can't win, and her current boyfriend, the narrator, is out of control in this case which only makes him more frustrated with her. The rest of the novel chronicles the painful collapse of the relationship. The narrator in many ways is a typical 1950's man, a few times acting a bit like a Don Draper (incredibly jealous but not a great person himself). Between attempts to reconcile but also the narrator's girlfriend's desire for security, the painfully sad relationship between the two goes from bad to worse. Well written, I like how the narrative is framed by the reader being told the story of this whole sordid mess. It adds a sense of the noir genre that turns what could be a trite plot set up to be something more interesting, well rounded, and complex. So, thanks again go to NYRB for brining a 60 year old gem back into print. It's definitely worth the read.

Currently reading

Native Son
Richard Wright
The Great Glass Sea
Josh Weil
The Elder Edda
Anonymous, Andrew Orchard