Sunday, January 5, 2014

Short Stories and Retro Reads

I'm sitting by a fire in cozy socks, drinking Mexican hot chocolate in a hand-painted mug from Mexico (little things like that make me happy) and trying not to thinking about the fact that this coziness is all part of an elaborate attempt to recreate the effect of seasons in season-less land.  The truth of the matter is that earlier today I was barefoot with a tank-top on, complaining about the heat. SoCal is hard on a girl whose favorite season is winter!

Today I finished reading my first book of the year: Free Air by Sinclair Lewis.  Written in 1919, this was a novel about adventuring via automobiles—already an established American pasttime‐as well as a humorous look at the different social classes before the World Wars.  In some ways, it was a bizarre mash-up of F.Scott Fitzgerald and Willa Cather where socialites meet farmers.  I love how the literature of this era reflects the times, teaching so much about daily aggravations and expectations.  Driving back then, by the way, was a chore.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit, for all that it is apparently one of his lesser appreciated novels.  I liked his humor and his talent for highlighting human foibles.

The other thing I've been reading in bits and pieces is the latest Indiespensable selection: The Best of McSweeney's.  I had previously been entirely unaware of McSweeney's (soooo out of the loop in regards to literary journals!) but got pretty excited upon opening the package for a few reasons.  First, the paper quality is divine: a tactile delight!  Second, Powell's had six of the authors sign the inside of the book.  Third, the dust jacket is a poster in disguise.  And ultimately, all the writing has been wonderful thus far.  Most of the 600 pages is comprised of short stories, though there are letters, comics, and other goodies interspersed throughout.  It might take a little while to get through, but it will be worth it.

What are you starting your year out with?  Are you diving into challenges or taking it easy?


2 comments:

  1. Wish I was barefoot with a tank-top on. Freezing in south-east UK right now! Your reading sounds intriguing. I'm on my umpteenth Austen re-read!

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    1. I'm not a huge fan of freezing weather unless it's accompanied by snow - I love snow! I even enjoy shoveling it. :)

      I really wanted to start my year with a reread of Sense & Sensibility, but that didn't happen. I think Austen is a wonderful way to begin a year, so I'm still hoping to start in on it soon!

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