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Another fine mess

Reader fan critic teacher reader fan.

Currently reading

Ottessa Moshfegh
Knife Fight and Other Struggles
David Nickle
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
Andrew Solomon
The Good Lord Bird
James McBride
Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (New Edition)
Derek Bok
Dissident Gardens
Jonathan Lethem
Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s
Kim Newman
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
James Gleick
Complete Novels
Dashiell Hammett, Steven Marcus
Like You'd Understand, Anyway - Jim Shepard Serendipity. I had gotten this out of the library just before the NBA announcement--don't recall why, except that Shepard is a writer touted by so many to me over the years, yet I've only read a story or two, here and there.

I'm trying to divvy up my attention over three story collections (all while also re-reading the books for the three classes I'm teaching), to give each collection a chance to breathe.

But I picked up Shepard last night and wolfed down the first three stories, and I'm kind of hooked. Each so far in the first-person, and narrators whose lives and foci and consciousness couldn't be further apart, and a prose style that without flash conveys such distinctness--each has his own voice.

I'm mid-stream, so more later, but: "Hadrian's Walls," an account of a kind of accountant/centurion on the outskirts of the Roman empire, is pretty damn fine. It seems like a great introduction to Shepard's work--thickly describing a new world, intent on the problems of identity and particularly masculinity (there's already, three stories in, a 1.000 batting average on depictions of difficult father-son relations), tied to a dim worldview and a sense of humor robustly butting up against such pessimism.

More later--but to my friends, do you have other Shepard recs? It's kind of cool to discover someone you think is really great, and to have before you a stockpile of wonders already produced. And if you haven't read Shepard, hey--he's good.