Tis the season, and I've fallen off my blogging game. What I've been doing re the book world since then.
I read Sympathy, a novel by Olivia Sudjic. I really enjoyed this novel, about a British girl in her early twenties who comes to New York and adventures ensue. The plot is a little scattered and difficult to describe, but it was all part of the charm. The book really dives into social media, in particular Instagram, and how it influences lives. What I enjoyed the most about it was the real pointillist approach to describing New York. The narrator's days of roaming the streets were intensely relateable. As was her search for love, acceptance, meaning. She is in love or obsessed with someone she sees as her doppelganger. Actually in spirit, it did remind me of Dostoyevsky a lot, though I've never read The Double. Dostoyevsy always has these ranting male protagonists, and Sudjic's was like the female equivalent.
I also went to a reading at Bluestockings Bookstore. My friend and client Emily Smith had an essay published in a book titled Greetings from Janeland, about women pursuing romantic relationships with women, after much experience with men. The readings were all pretty fascinating since they were cutting right to the heart of people's personal experiences. Emily's was great, and not just for the story, but also for so well conveying what it's like to be in a malaise and then have first glimmers of hope.
I'm in the middle of reading this novella by Chekhov. I just think he's an amazing writer and am in awe of him. This is all in part of my new initiative to only read paper books. That said, the plot of this book is not that interesting to me, it just seems to be about a young man bored with his provincial life, but some of the writing has been incredible. For instance, there is a whole description of the types of buildings the man's father, an architect, designs, and the description accurately conveys the dullness of the man's mind--and I barely understand architecture. Amazing! Then the young man paints stage scenery and you so easily understand the appeals of painting stage scenery.
Finally, I've been interested in some of the #metoo ripples into book publishing. Most notably with the resignation of Lorin Stein at the Paris Review. I had a brief stint of devouring Paris Reviews after college and when I first started out literary agenting. I liked a lot of the fiction they presented. I haven't read it in a long time, though I've decided I definitely want to up my periodical subscriptions.
Here's what I've read/listened about it. "Farewell to a Scoundrel" by Wesley Yang in Tablet Magazine. , "This is How A Woman is Erased from Her Job" by A.N. Denvers in Longreads, and this podcast by Jessa Crispin, interviewing Leah Finnegan, In the latter, Leah Finnegan does accurately describe how I felt about Paris Review parties.