Thursday, August 27, 2009

Summer Reading

Now that my summer is about over (classes resumed yesterday), I think it appropriate to reveal -- not that anyone cares too deeply -- my summer reading list. While this seems a little weak, I think it should be noted that Cultural Amnesia and The Third Reich At War are massive books -- tomes, even -- that consumed a lot of time (the latter book still consumes a lot of time and it's about all I've done for the last week or so).

Hannah Arendt, Eichmann In Jerusalem (1964)
Richard J. Evans, The Third Reich At War (2008)
Clive James, Cultural Amnesia (2007)
Ernst Jünger, Storm Of Steel (1920/1931 ver.)
Cormac McCarthy, Suttree (1979)
Peter Pettinger, Bill Evans: How My Heart Sings (1999)

I've also been dabbling in Frank O'Hara's Collected Poetry (1971/1995) and Rilke in Mitchell's translation (The Selected Poetry of RMR). For whatever reason (and in the case of the O'Hara volume, it's partially a baffling-to-me editorial layout), I don't like reading poetry straight through -- unless it's meant to be read straight through. I'll admit coming to O'Hara largely because the second season of Mad Men was laced with allusions to his Meditations In An Emergency (1957), but I'll also admit that it was a pleasant surprise to find him as engaging as he has proved.

Of course, it wouldn't be an interesting summer book list if I didn't recount all the books that I have yet to get to -- and, thanks to law journal and moot court, probably won't for a while.

Italo Calvino, t zero (1967)
Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero (1985)
Kazuo Ishiguro, An Artist Of The Floating World (1986)
Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich: A New History (2000)
Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (Stanley Mitchell, trans., 2008)
John Reed, Ten Days That Shook The World (1919)
François Truffaut, Hitchcock/Truffaut (1967/1983)

Of course, I think having such a deep shelf of books that I need to read is a bit of subconscious rebellion against the imperial demands of the law school on my time. While cases are interesting (especially if you want to pass the classes, as I do), I don't think many rise to the level of great literature. Even Justice Antonin Scalia, often praised for his prose, tends toward tendentiousness in a way that wouldn't pass muster in the circles of serious nonfiction.


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