- For those of you in San Diego, we might have another literary salon-type event or two coming soon. We're just in the early stages, but hopefully one or both will involve real-live, published authors, so if you enjoyed the Cloud Atlas event - and you know you did - you're going to want to stay tuned in the coming weeks.
- As I mentioned in an earlier post, SD's Write Out Loud is going to be hosting a series of live readings of Ray Bradbury's classic novel, Fahrenheit 451, right in my neighborhood, the Brooklyn of San Diego, South Park. The opening salvo will be at Progress on April 4th. (I'll share more info as it emerges, but I've been reassured that 4/4 is a go.)
The Tenth of December by George Saunders - you've no doubt heard all about George by now, he being a literati darling these days, after wallowing in indie store darkness for decades. I know that everyone says this, but this collection is every bit as amazing as they all say it is. Honest. I'm dying to post my thoughts on each of these stories, but Scott has my copy of the book, pretending to read it.
The Whispering Muse by Sjón - this is one of three newly translated novels on the way from FSG this spring, written by an Icelandic poet/songwriter/novelist. In Muse, half the story is told by Caeneus, formerly a sailor on the Argo - of "Jason and the Argonauts" fame - now, inexplicably, just a second mate on a boat in Norway in 1949. A weird, dreamy, magical, mythical little book that was unlike anything I've read in quite a while. In a good way.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra - certainly the current runner-up for the top spot on this year's Catapult Notable list. Did I mention that it's only February? This debut - coming in May from RH's Hogarth Press - echoes The Tiger's Wife in many ways, but might actually be a better book. Scandal! A lyrical, vivid tale of wartorn Chechnya - which I admittedly knew very little about going in - that shows you how much our lives can be affected by both circumstance and coincidence. It's a heartbreaker. More on that later.
Return to Oakpine by Ron Carlson - Ron is a Catapult favorite, to be sure, and although this isn't my number one pick of his novels, I was more than happy to fall back into his lines of prose again. A lot like 2007's Five Skies, Oakpine is - on the surface - a story about the bonds between men who hate to admit that they have feelings for each other. At first I was a little lukewarm on it - these guys return to their hometown in Wyoming, 30 years after high school, one of them's dying, maybe we'll get the band back together. But oh-ho-ho, friend...
The afternoon winter wind was slow and ponderous and unrelenting and ultimately called fierce, though it was nothing except the icy air moving along the frozen plates of the world, and the snow had crusted and blown into waves against the fences along Berry Street in Oakpine, Wyoming. The day was closed.
I'm trying to lure Ron down to San Diego this summer for an event (he's the head of the writing program at UC Irvine) so, stay tuned for that one as well.
I'm also halfway through Kristopher Jansma's forthcoming The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards (Viking, March 2013) that I'm really digging. (Unreliable narrator.) And I have a galley of Colum McCann's Transatlantic, coming in June, that's burning a whole through my coffee table right now. More later. Carry on.