reads

I’m still trying to get over an infection, and I just can’t seem to get better, despite antibiotics. I’ve been “ordered” by my better half to stay in bed all day, drink water, and rest. Anyone who knows me will understand that it’s pure torture for me to be confined to bed all day. My one saving grace is that I’ve been able to read (I’m terrible about updating the “current reads” section on this blog), so here’s what I’ve enjoyed lately:
Arafat’s Elephant by Jonathan Tel. The collection was pretty uneven. A few really good stories, others not so great. What drew me to the book was a story titled “Zaghrouda” which appeared in Granta last month.
For the Relief of Unbearable Urges by Nathan Englander. I enjoyed this book just as much on my second reading as I did during the first, about a year ago.
“Here Comes” by T. Coraghessan Boyle (or is T.C. Boyle these days?) in the November issue of Harper’s. I was impressed by the way he delved into the homeless guy’s perception of himself. I also liked how the action took place over only a day or two, but the protagonist’s entire life is there for us to see.
The much hyped “Varieties of Religious Experience” by John Updike in the November issue of The Atlantic. I didn’t like this story very much, although I think the premise is quite clever. The portion where he dealt with the hijacker felt entirely too simplistic, for lack of a better word. It would have been much more challenging to do a multi-dimensional section on the hijacker, but I suppose in an age when we are asked to believe in an “axis of evil” this is no surprise.
“Travis, B.” by Maile Meloy in this week’s issue of the New Yorker. This story really broke my heart. I admired how Meloy dealt with all the things that are left unsaid between people.
Best American Short Stories 2002. Just started this.
In terms of non-fiction, there is an excellent article in this month’s National Geographic on weapons of mass destruction. Very chilling. And I’m also reading “The Fifty-First State”, an analysis of the likely aftermath of war (and victory) in Iraq.

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