Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Salud to Summer

After a brief glance at some of the recent (book) ordering catalogs, I've come to the conclusion that a wild, near-edenic end of summer awaits us, with promises of endless literary bounty and good books galore. So, with so much to choose from, I've decided to limit my celebration to a few particular upcoming books -- a couple of which I've had the luck to get my hands on.

Reheated Cabbage by Irvine Welsh (August 4, 2009) -- As its title suggests, this new collection from the author of Trainspotting stardom is really a refreshment (reheating) of stories now out of print and hard to find. I'm 3/4 of the way through it and finding it every bit the meal it once was: caustic, hilarious, concerned with matters local and galactic, and above all, brilliantly fun, Reheated Cabbage is, if not vintage Welsh, then at least a few good doses of well-matured Welsh. And PS, a few of the stories revisit Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and the boys from Trainspotting.

Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving (October 20, 2009) -- Irving's new novel revists the well-chartered New England territories of his most successful novels, courting history and elegy with the same panache and emotional vigor we expect from him. I haven't really gotten too far into the red-wood sized tome, but from what I've taken in, it's going to be a lot better than Irving's last (the hypertensive Until I Find You).

Homer and Langley by E.L. Doctorow (September 1, 2009) -- So maybe (aside from Book of Daniel) the great Doctorow's novels have fallen off a bit since Welcome to Hard Times and Ragtime, but no doubt about it the man can still write a damn good novel. This newest tells the epic story of two brothers -- one blind and yet scarily perceptive, the other damaged into a mania which may be greatness -- as they run up against the world and all the warp and weft of American history. As cohesive and sensitive a novel as has come out in a while.

That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo (August 4, 2009) -- Critically acclaimed Russo explodes once more with his newest novel, featuring -- Russo is this an autobiography? -- a man in the midst of a mid-life crisis. A book about geography, balance, nostalgia, and the shocking brevity of our time here on this meager little planet of ours, That Old Cape Magic manages to please and titillate throughout its depictions of middle-age monotony. (As a warning, I've heard that some hits a little too close to home for those actually in or approaching middle age.)
Upcoming: BEEROK PT. 3 and Some Reflections on Canada

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