This week in books.

I haven’t had much time to read in the past few weeks because of paper grading, and exam grading, and then lots of  medical appointments in the morning (which is when I do most of my free reading). So I am mostly in the middle of things. Those things being:

Mitchell, David. Cloud Atlas. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2004.

B. and I are reading this together and then having a Skype-based book club. I’m finding re-reading it very odd because I have such strong memories of really loving the book, but it turns out I have only the vaguest memories of actual plot details. Which is kind of nice, because I really want to know how the first story ends and am not in any way deprived of the puzzle-structure of the book the second time around.

But also I’m worried it’s not as good as I remember? Updates forthcoming.

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Vancouver: Raincoast, 1999.

I’ve been re-reading Harry Potter while I sit in waiting rooms, waiting for x-rays and ultrasounds etc, because they’re comforting, and you need something to do there, and because I find it really difficult to read something new in the fragmentary space-and-time of the waiting room. Snoopy Mrs Norris is still my favourite.

Yeats, William Butler. W.B. Yeats: Poems Selected by Seamus Heaney. London: Faber, 2000.

I used to really love Yeats in undergrad. And now I find I still love him, but like different poems. I’m more annoyed by his use of ladies as mediums for talking about how beauty is fleeting and the poet is old and life is fleeting and everyone dies one day (because ladies are people and not just empty pictures, Yeats) but ‘Easter 1916’ just about broke my heart in a way it never had before.

But also I love that Heaney included ‘To a Squirrel at Kyle-na-no’ because in the midst of Yeats talking about the ache of age and loneliness and the tragic history of Ireland you just get this little imagist moment:

Come play with me;

Why would you run

Through the shaking tree

As though I’d a gun

To strike you dead?

When all I’d do

Is to scratch your head

And let you go. (56)

Yeats is pretty great.

13 May 2016

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