Tag Archives: a.s. byatt

On Our Nightstand, August 24th-30th

Here’s what we’re reading this week at Diesel!

The Same River Twice
By Ted Mooney
I am absolutely taken by this moody, atmospheric novel set in contemporary Paris. There are artists, filmmakers, art dealers, and Russian mobsters all swirling around in this well-told tale. It is the kind of story that runs like a film in your head, but I have no idea where it’s going.

Anna in Brentwood
Our Tragic Universe
By Scarlett Thomas
As in her previous novel, The End of Mr. Y, Thomas is brilliant at getting inside the inquisitive, troubled minds of her young female protagonists as they ponder life’s big questions. Plus, every time I read a Thomas novel, I find myself getting recommendations for other books, as her characters are always reading. PopCo made me pick up Survive the Savage Sea, and this one already has me searching for my copy of Aristotle‘s Poetics.

Kim in Malibu
Little Black Book of Stories
By A.S. Byatt
A book of previously uncollected and intriguingly creepy short stories by Byatt that includes the fascinating “A Stone Woman” about a woman who literally morphs into rock. Freak of nature or metaphor? You decide!

Miles in Malibu
Consider the Lobster
By David Foster Wallace
Seeing America through the David Foster Wallace lens is like looking at your favorite food under a microscope. At first you may be unsettled by the inconvenient truths, but you will ultimately be rewarded for reading about the seedy underbelly of the world of dictionary editing, life on the 2000 McCain campaign trail, and the surreal hilarity of adult entertainment conventions. Eat up.

Thomas in Brentwood
The Insufferable Gaucho
By Roberto Bolano
More literary antics from Senor Bolano. An expectedly eclectic collection of incurably ill, insufferable, and ingenious characters. “Jim,” the three-page story that begins the collection, is an absolute knockout: a chili scalding the back of your mouth and a ghost haunting the corners of your memory.

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Seriously, Someone Had Better Have Asked Alice By Now

With Tim Burton‘s Alice in Wonderland in theaters, it’s no wonder that Alice is everywhere. Lewis Carroll’s classic has, however, gleaned us more than the usual round-up of dull movie tie-ins. Recent editions of Alice include a version by fantasy illustrator Rodney Matthews that comes in a handsome slipcase and one by artist Camille Rose Garcia done in a gothy, inky style. We’re also rather partial to Robert Sabuda‘s intricate pop-up adaptation.

If you’re interested in the story behind the story, there’s a new biography of Carroll—a.k.a., Charles Lutwidge Dodgson—about which we’re hearing great things: Jenny Woolf’s The Mystery of Lewis Carroll. Or for a different perspective on the same people, you could try Alice I Have Been, a new novel about the life of the real Alice Liddell. We also enjoyed A.S. Byatt‘s article in The Guardian about the powerful oddity that is Alice. And that’s before Tim Burton laid a finger on it!

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