Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Book talk, brief

In the spirit of recommending books, as the previous post’s link suggests is perhaps a fitting solution to the shrinking book review sections, I will mention that I am reading The Ministry of Pain by Dubravka Ugrešic, an author mentioned earlier on this here blog. I think, aside from noting that her latest novel will be the first to come from Rochester U’s forthcoming literature in translation press, I wrote about her a while back.

I first found her book Thank You for Not Reading at Myopic, not my favorite store but damn if they don’t get some gems in from time to time. I read a chunk of it at the counter and decided it was worth buying (and the hipper-than-thou Wicker Park clerks seemed anxious to get me out of there anyway). I found the book to be very funny, recommended it to anyone who’d listen and have tried to find anything I could by this woman. At another mediocre store, Half-Price books in Niles, Illinois, I snagged Ministry of Pain.

It gets better the further along I get. The opening of the book is available here:


Though this is a small piece of a larger whole and, on the off chance anyone reads this and is intrigued, you ought to check out the rest.

Okay, so this is not quite a giant review full of superlatives or significant criticism but all I can say is: read it! What more should I say?

On the subject of the lack of literacy in American, I am not too worried. As the link from the previous post asserts, I don’t think this is anything new and I doubt books are going to suddenly disappear as a result. Unlike the author of that post, I will always try to live in a city where literary works are easily found and bought. Yeah, there’s a lot less good bookstores in Chicago then there were when I first moved up north, but I have managed to still get my books when I need them, which is usually years before I read them. I’m that kind of book buyer. I have to have it, even if it will collect dust for a while. I’ll never get through my library, never. I’m okay with that. Anyway, if a percentage of Americans only read five books last year than that only makes me feel better about having to have read eight this summer for class. And summer ain’t over yet, goddamnit.