Recent reading

My inner life – such as it is – has returned to normal now that the US election is over and I don’t have to spend every spare moment worrying about Sarah Palin.
So I’ve been catching up on some reading:

Lighthousekeeping – Jeanette Winterson has climbed down from her self-conscious now-watch-while-I-do-some-amazing-writing thing and is back in fine form. Perhaps she just has to do that voice. Perhaps she’s a one-voice wonder. Who knows? When she gets it right, there’s nothing like it.

The Collector of Worlds – The new translation of Ilya Troyanov’s novel based on the life of that famously enigmatic explorer, Richard Burton. I hoped, from the first few pages, for insights into Burton but in the last pages was forced yet again to accept enigma as a fact of life. It’s compelling, suitably exotic and Orientalist, slightly frustrating and as fabulous as Burton’s life demands – and beautifully written.

Olive: The Life and Lore of a Noble Fruit – Mort Rosenblum. Unlike all those stupid pop history knock-offs (Dust, Flea, and for all I know Belch or Sandpaper) this is utterly fascinating, as indeed you would expect, because the story of the olive is the story of the Mediterranean region and the future of the trees and their precious produce critical to everything from the EU subsidy program to peace in the area around Jerusalem. And I’m a bit olive obsessed at present.

That said, I might now catch up on some writing.

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