Sunday, February 25, 2007

Saturday Library Haul

I swung by the local library today as I had to renew my library loan for The Art of Eating.

More than 700 pages of culinary writing, and you had to swim through pages of adorations and critical reviews before you get to M.F.K. Fisher's writings proper. It's enjoyable, as Fisher explores the preparation, cultural history and philosophy of eating. She also writes movingly on her own gastronimical experiences, and how it is all tied up with desire and hunger. More on it later.

Anyway, while I was at the library, I picked up some other titles. Alessandro Baricco's An Iliad is finally available for loan. Baricco is an acclaimed Italian author whose books I have enjoyed recently. This is his rendition of Homer's epic through a more subjective angle.

If you're interested in Baricco other titles, look out for Silk - a historical novella set in the 1860s. French silkworm merchant Hervé Joncour travels to Japan where he falls under the spell of a beautiful woman.

Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It by Geoff Dyer. A travelogue that mentions yoga in the title. Okay, I'm easy bait.

Then there's Camilla Gibb's The Petty Details of So-and-so's Life. Recommended to me by someone who knows just how much I adore books about fucked up childhood and who also knows how much I enjoyed Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall on Your Knees.

And, in the vein of Turkey related readings, I picked up The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay. It's published by New York Review Books, and the reviews say it's humorous and well-written, as it chronicles the madcap travels of a group of eccentric characters from Istanbul to legendary Trebizond.

Finally, Freya Stark's Baghdad Sketches. I collect travellers as my heroes. Freya Stark is one of them. This is a collection of articles she wrote while travelling in Baghdad during the 1930s.


Imani said...

I've been looking for Baricco's books since I read his short fiction in the Paris Review but the three university libraries here put together only have four of his books, of which only one is an English translation. So I immediately sent in requests. Can you imagine?

Rebecca H. said...

I'm curious about the yoga book; it initially didn't seem like something I'd like (the title is too flippant, I think), but I read something about it recently, and it sounded quite intriguing.

darkorpheus said...

Imani - I feel for you. Aren't university libraries supposed to encourage reading? D'uh.

But just curious, if they don't have it in English, do they have the original Italian version? Which is interesting if you think about it.

Dorothy - we probably read about it from the same source. The article also mentioned Lawrence Weschler, Jonathan Raban and a bit of Rebecca Solnit - same article?

Rebecca H. said...

That's it!

darkorpheus said...

Ah, Dorothy, yes, the "Discursive Polymaths" article over at Conversational Readings. I like that article. It's the kind of thing that I pick up on.

The geek that I am, I made notes and drew up a booklist from that article.

I'm going to try Geoff Dyer first, and I have "Vermeer in Bosnia" by Lawrence Weschler on order (not available from the library). Then I will move on to Jonathan Raban.

Ah, I am so geek. ;)

Heather said...

Oh yes Silk is an old favourite of mine.

Rebecca H. said...

I'm a geek too. I've got Vermeer in Bosnia on my TBR shelves, and Solnit of course, and the others I'm keeping in the back of my mind as possibilities. I love the kind of smart nonfiction that article described.

Anonymous said...

I love a good library haul. I tried to read the Dyer book a while back and couldn't get into it. Could have been a right book, wrong time sort of thing though. I really need to read Baricco. I keep hearing such good things about Silk.