Reading Frenzy

I must be starving for words, because there’s a reading frenzy going on in my home. Books were quietly piling up and now I can Not Stop Reading. (Not that this is a bad thing, but it’s kinda hilarious to have four books going at once and a stack waiting, albeit many of the books are the kind of non-fiction that I need to stop and start to digest.)

Here is my reading list, all of which I can Highly Recommend, especially if the topic interest you.

THE REST IS NOISE, Alex Ross: I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It’s, hands down, one of the best books I’ve ever read on music and simply one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read. Ross makes a somewhat difficult topic, the history of 20th century music, incredibly accessible. I hear and feel the music he is discussing.

EVERYTHING IS CINEMA, Richard Brody: Again not an easy topic, at least for me…Godard’s life and work. But this extensive look at Godard’s history is very enlightening, especially for me as I found him intellectually stimulating but kinda like homework. This book is helping me see the spectacular level of innovation and thinking behind his films.

[fyi: Both Brody and Ross write for The New Yorker, as does James Wood, whose book HOW FICTION WORKS, I recently finished and was similarly impressed by…those New Yorker dudes know how to write a book! Big thanks to Jen Lam for the recommendation and for the actual book!]

THE ZEN OF CREATIVITY, John Daido Loori: During my meditation research I came across information about the Zen Fire Lotus Temple in Brooklyn which is connected to the Zen Mountain     upstate. These are both headed by Loori who is also a photographer. I was curious to read something by him.

WALKING MEDITATION, Thich Nhat Hanh: Hanh is a master in this form and I wanted to learn more about it.

BACK TO BEGINNINGS, REFLECTIONS ON THE TAO, Huanchu Daoren: A lovely book of short meditations on life from the late 16th century. I found many to be quite practical and useful.

DESIGN AS ART, Bruno Munari: Munari illustrated this childrens book that I still have and probably treasure the most: CIRCUS IN THE MIST. I recently read a bit more on him and ordered a few of his educational books. This one looks great–I can’t wait to delve into it.

NOTES ON THE CINEMATOGRAPHER, Robert Bresson: I’ve been in the thrall of a Bresson love-fest for a while, with DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST at the top of my list. But I just watched both MOUCHETTE and PICKPOCKET and was blow away too. Wanting to learn more about Bresson, I found this book of his working memos.

INDIGNATION, Philip Roth: On the pile, a recommendation from Sandy. He’s one of my fav. living authors, so am looking forward to it…am going in blind, as I haven’t read about the story line.

Poetry I’ve been dipping into/wanting to read more of:

ELIZABETH BISHOP, a book of her complete works.


THE WASTELAND and other poems, T.S. Eliot

I’m also revisiting this classic that I read many many moons ago:

TO THE LIGHTHOUSE, Virginia Woolf: I’m flabbergasted by the poetry, philosophy, simple magic of her vision. I have to read each page very slowly–Not Easy for Ms. Skimmer–to savour this one. I got some little post-its and I keep sticking them on pages.

For our coming two week-I can’t believe it’s happening–California trip in August:

MY ANTONIA, Willa Cather: Another reread and our next book group pick

BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL, Fredrick Nietzsche: My pal in life and books Drew read this for his new philosophy reading partnership. He just told me that he was surprised how readable it was….which is why I’m choosing to take it along.

And a book I always have around and dip into now and then:

THE BOOK OF DISQUIET, Fernanda Pessoa: I can never read more than a page or two of this journal-like book by one of Portugal’s most important poets. You deeply sense his life experience which is infused with melancholy.


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