This last final spring term of my academic career I am only taking fiction workshop and teaching two sections of business writing. So that means I have a lot more free time on my hands than I’ve had ever as a student. Mostly I’ll be using this time to work on my business writing prep and writing two new stories for workshop. But it also means I’ll have time to read for pleasure!
I’ve updated the pages on the left side of this page–Reading Past, Reading Present, & Reading Future.
1) Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. I’m excited that I’m halfway through it already. My mom’s been recommending it to me for years and on my parents’ last trip up here, she read it again and then left it behind. It’s about one Russian’s day in one of the Soviet Union’s penal work camps in Siberia in the 1950s. It’s not as brutal as I thought it would be, but is as desperate and boring and hopeless as I thought it would be. It’s quick and interesting read, so I’d recommend it to anyone.
2) Alice Munro’s Selected Stories. I’m almost through this collection. I’d read about half of the stories before but decided to start at the beginning and read through them again. She’s very interested in the plight of women and women’s points of view. And since the short stories in my thesis collection all center on women and their stories, Munro is feeling particularly appropriate right now. If you’re not a big reader of contemporary (60s-present) short fiction, she’d be a great place to start.
3) Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. Of course I’ve been told by people for years that I need to read this novella/long novella. It took me awhile to get through the Introduction so that I could even understand what was going on, and so far I’m enjoying it. I’m hoping to finish it soon so that I can read Alice Munro’s story “Meneseteung” since it’s supposed to be a play on or variation of Woolf’s piece. I’d recommend this and all of Woolf’s other work to those who don’t mind working hard. Once you get into the rhythm of her stream of consciousness style, it’s heaven.
4) Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth. I can’t wait for this one to arrive in the mail! I pre-ordered it and it should be here quite soon. Her first collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer. It was her first publication! And the stories in there are incredible and reflect a style I think I have in my own writing. Her second book, the novel Namesake, is also quite good and was actually recently made into a movie. But her stories are still the best, to me. Once again, I’d highly recommend her.