Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Reading list

I am reading a lot at the moment. My drawing of our house is in a lull. I have been back at work for a week and in the evenings I am happy for someone else to be doing the creative work while I consume.

Just finished Fine Just the Way It Is, a new book of Wyoming short stories by Annie Proulx. Pretty tough, pretty grim. No-one gets off easy in Wyoming by the sound of it. A couple of silly ones about Satan that I didn't enjoy at all.

Before that, Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon. About the two Englishmen, an astonomer and a surveyor, who were paid by the "proprietors" of Pennsylvania and Maryland to survey the boundary between the colonies, which became the accepted border between North and South in the USA. An incredibly long and dense book, I felt it had touches of magic realism. It is all told in ye olde narrative style, wherein people tell "joakes" and have names like Rev. Wicks Cherrycoke. There are hundreds of characters to keep track of, actual bodice ripping, a talking dog and a clockwork automaton duck. Very good indeed but hard work.

I am now reading Ajax, The Dutch, The War: Football in Europe During the Second World War by Simon Kuper. It is particularly good in how it deals wth the Occupation of the Netherlands. The Germans considered the Dutch to be slightly misguided Germans. Unless one was Jewish or active in the Resistance, it was a time of inconvenience and boredom, rather than fear. - although near the end of the war there was certainly serious starvation in the north. It details what happened to the majority of the Dutch Jews - there are few happy endings. Meanwhile, in May 1938 an England team played Germany in the Olympic Stadium, Berlin, and gave the watching Herr Hitler the Nazi salute. A fascinating time to study.

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