I spent a long time writing a review of Richard Powers’s Generosity today. I just couldn’t get it right. It’s a novel of ideas, one which makes Ed say he “foresees some animosity from the vanilla critics hostile to idea-driven novels, but book bloggers, YouTube chroniclers, and MFAs would do well to plunge into this chance-taking narrative, which introduces vital questions about what the reader’s relationship is with media, scientific dissection, and ‘creative nonfiction.'” It’s true. This novel is all over the map, not just in terms of subject matter (Happiness, what is it) but how we access information, the dissolution of privacy, the perception of science in a mass-media world. I’ll try to work more over the weekend on it.
David Ulin’s article on “The Lost Art of Reading” relates to at least one of the themes in the book. He purports that the demands for his attention with our ADD culture prevent him from reading for long stretches of time. It struck a chord with me not because I’m ADD when it comes to reading, but I find my relationship with books has changed now that I work with books all day. Sometime when I come home and have eaten dinner, I don’t want to read! It’s very strange. I love reading. I do it everywhere, even while brushing my teeth. But television has its own allure.
On a completely different topic, Mr. Bookdwarf and I are heading to Florence, Italy in a week or so for a wedding. No, not our own, that’s next month. This is for a childhood friend of Aaron’s. So I’ve got some plane reading to plan for as well as reading while in cafes. Know any books set in Florence or Italy? Suggest away!
And to end this post, doesn’t Judith Jones’s post make you want to see Julie and Julia? I didn’t particularly enjoy Powell’s book, but the movie sounds fantastic. As least the Julia Child parts do. I also throw in a teaser by mentioning an upcoming event my store is hosting later this Fall involving Judith Jones in conversation with Lidia Bastianich. I don’t have an exact date yet and I might get in trouble for even mentioning it, but I’m too excited.
Basically I’d watch it if they re-cut it to remove the “Julie” part and it was just about Julia.
Dude! I totally want to see that movie but I was afraid to tell you because I thought you’d make fun of me!
You may have already read it, but my favorite book set in Florence is Forster’s Room with a View. I loved it. He loved Italy so much it gives such an exuberance to the prose.
Don’t go to Florence without having read Hellenga’s novel Sixteen Pleasures. It is a delight–and informative.
Enjoyed the movie, the best of the summer (think of what we’ve endured to date), but I have to agree I would have appreciated more Julia and less Julie. Nora Ephron did a wonderful job writing a new creation from two books.
Florence – The Stones of Florence, wonderful to read when you can look at what she mentions.