I am currently reading several very good books (English major and all)…
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, very wonderful. I have just started but it is already quite good and I am looking forward to reading it all this weekend. It’s the story of this ascete’s quest for spiritual meaning; he follows Buddha, but he wants to be true to himself. Very typically Eastern European (that’s the class I’m taking) and spare, but delicious so far.
Suddenly Last Summer by Tennessee Williams - technically a short play, but really super good, dramatic and entertaining, eerie and disconcerting. And if you read the play, you have to see the 1958 movie version with the great Kate Hepburn as Violet Venable, plus Elizabeth Taylor and a quite sexy Montgomery Clift. It has all the juicy Tennessee stuff - homosexuality, possible incest, cannibalism, and full-frontal lobotomies! Good stuff!
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich - extremely engrossing and amazingly written. I adore this book, and if you take up any of my suggestions, take up this one. It involves a lot of interwoven story lines, but there are some parts that are so beautiful I just read them over and over again. It deals with recent Native American history and a bit with reservation life, but mostly it’s about love and family. Very engrossing plot.
Body & Soul by Frank Conroy, my preferred bed-time reading. I’ve read it many times, but it appeals to me. It’s about this kid Claude growing up poor in NYC after the war, and his discovery of music and how it affects his life. Very lyrical and lush, sometimes overly melodramatic but I really love its themes and layers of language and meaning. Very evocative, and a lot of the stuff about old New York is lovely.
Finally, I just finished While I Was Gone by Sue Miller. (Yes, it is an Oprah Book Club book. Anyone who wants to get pissy, snobby, or self-important about that fact should look up “Oprah” in the Pit. I don’t want to go there again.) It’s a very engrossing novel with a really good murder bit and some cool plot twists, although personally I saw it coming. It drags a little toward the end, but there is great stuff about the late-60s and the themes dealing with forgiveness, elusiveness, and the effect of keeping secrets from people you love are handled well. I found it a very entertaining, quick read. The language was also quite evocative and it definitely struck a few chords with me, made me think about new things.
Hope that helps!