Totally lame month for reading. I blame fabulous London, which distracted me immensely and in beautiful ways. I also blame having to fly — and no, you can’t really get much reading done when you’re flying, especially if you get one of those random upgrades and a gorgeous European man is bringing you wine and chocolate every half an hour. And I also blame being home in Bangalore and getting pampered by people who manage somehow, despite everything, to love me.
After shamefully excusing myself from this shoddy performance, these are the two books I read in June:
- Ted Hughes: The Hawk in the Rain (1957) [EDIT 23/09/11 Apparently I read this is May, not June.]
- Yu Xuanji: The Complete Poems (tr. from the Chinese by Leonard Ng)
[EDITEDITEDIT! I discovered I did read another book in June: it was John Haines's The Stone Harp. I wrote about it in my July roundup here. 25/08/11]
The Hughes was a re-read. Ted Hughes has been a favourite poet of mine for a long time and probably the first poet I read in any sort of detail. So it’s hard for me to say this, but I didn’t like the book as much this time round. I wonder if it’s first-book syndrome, because a lot of it seemed too much, too embellished and fussy. Of course, some poems are still exceptional and pretty much flawless (the title poem, ‘A Modest Proposal,’ and various others), but the book as a whole may not be the gem I used to think it was.
O man, I can’t believe I just said that about Ted Hughes.
I came across Yu Xuanji (meaning Leonard Ng’s translation of her) while working on Asymptote’s July issue. We featured excerpts from the book and the book is available to read freely on Leonard’s website. Leonard also wrote an article on Yu Xuanji for us, which you can read here.
Actually, now that I think of it, my reading in June wasn’t all that paltry: I read a ton of stuff for Asymptote between June and July, so it was easily 3 or 4 books in June. Hmm.
So yes, I had a ball in London. I’m also very proud of this picture, as proud as I look of the sandwich in the picture, which, though it was not actually a baguette as advertised, had a sausage in it made of wild boar and venison that was nice and made me feel very European, eating game and all. I’ve decided that if I ever get off my ass and start submitting work again and if I get an acceptance (happy thoughts) and if they want a bio photo, this is what they’ll get. Wish the whole outfit was in, though. I like that skirt lots.
By the way, I’m back in St Louis. It is very hot, but I have been promised a storm tonight. So I’m making pizza (with spinach and goat cheese = my favourite toppings) and thinking of cracking open a bottle of something nice.
I missed my kitchen.