A couple weeks ago a friendly bookshelf on 41st Street lent me a great looking book and I started it and then I realized that it was 600 pages long. I didn't feel I had it in me to read something that long right then, so I borrowed some shorter books from a friendly bookshelf on 2nd Street. Thanks to these winners, I'm now well on my way to conquering "Illywhacker" by Peter Carey.
"Great Jones Street" by Don DeLillo I like DeLillo, I've read several of his books, and he's really got his own style and way of doing things that I admire (for example, it seems he likes to spend the first 100 pages of most of his books just introducing the main character and what they do on a usual day.) In "Great Jones Street", DeLillo seems to be channeling Pynchon (not a bad thing at all) and the result is a story that resembles the domestic half of "V." told in the much smaller space taken by the much shorter "The Crying of Lot 49." "Great Jones Street" is the tale of a rockstar in the 70s who retreats from his tour to an apartment on Great Jones Street in New York City and gets caught up in a drug-development conspiracy. (For Your Informations: Great Jones Street is 3rd Street between Broadway and Bowery, and 3rd Street is the street that I live on, and Broadway is three blocks east of my place) If I owned "Great Jones Street" my copy would be full of underlinings and notations, as the book is full of choice cleverness and ideas, and, as it takes place in a neighborhood I'm familiar with but back when it was a different place entirely, it's quite interesting on a historical/anthropological level. Stay tuned for a photo-album dedicated to modern day Great Jones Street.
"After the Quake" by Haruki Murakami Haruki Murakami is another author I'm fairly familiar with, I was on a Murakami-reading streak for a while before I got a little tired of solitary protagonists cooking noodles and listening to jazz until they have quiet sex with quiet girls and then smoke and think about their childhoods. With this collection of short stories, Murakami breaks from his typical solitary hero mold (most of the time) as he examines the lives of various people after the 1995 Kobe earthquakes. I don't know where Murakami gets his ideas for stories, and I don't mean this in a "oh, they're so creative!" way (with the exception of "Super Frog Saves Tokyo" which is so creative and probably the most immediately enjoyable of these stories) I mean it in the "who would've thought to write a story about a menopausal Japanese doctor who goes swimming a lot in Thailand and thinks about her ex-husband a little? Well, no matter where he gets his stories from, Murakami really knows how to tell them and they're as satisfying as an understated sushi lunch.