What I’m Reading/In the Book Review

How did that happen? A few new titles hopped into the pile on the bedside table. Three are recommendations from friends. The problem with recommendations from friends is that, if the titles are at all plausible, I feel compelled (and not by the friends) to buy the book right away – lest I forget, I suppose. These new books are: This is Your Brain on Music, by Daniel J Levitin (Nom de Plume), Sailing From Byzantium, by Colin Wells (George), and Tomorrow They Will Kiss, by Eduardo Santiago (1904). Also new is the novel that I’m suddenly in the middle of, Edmund White’s “New York novel,” Hotel de Dream. I haven’t read one of Mr White’s novels since – well, almost since he started writing them (I prefer his memoirs). So far, Hotel de Dream is an entertainment for the erudite – Henry James and Joseph Conrad have made decidedly distinctive appearances; we shall see if there is more to this novel about the dying Stephen Crane and his disinterested recollections of New York’s “painted boys” than that.

During daylight hours, I’m conscientiously enjoying (no oxymoron!) Tim Blanning’s The Pursuit of Glory. About the countless ambiguities of his subject (Europe 1648-1815, or, in other words, the ancien régime), Prof Blaning is wonderfully unambiguous.

As for this week’s Book Review:

Tour de France.

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