On the Bookshelf, March 2016
The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt
I found this at a used bookstore, knowing nothing about the book or the author, but willing to fork over $1.50 to learn more. It's been both a challenge and a delight to read, and in light of the election cycle, disturbingly apropos. Some reviewers recommend skipping the two sections on antisemitism and imperialism. Heed them not. Skipping the tough bits is for wimps, and you'll be thankful for the foundation when you get to those final chapters.
The Odyssey by Homer
“Destruction sure o’er all your heads impends/Ulysses comes, and death his steps attends.” It took me a few years to figure it out, but poetry is a splendid way to keep my brain from overheating. I've been taking this one in small chunks, mostly because there's so much to savor and I don't want it to end.
Essays, Speeches, and Public Letters by William Faulkner
Faulkner seems to inspire love or hatred in his readership, but seldom indifference. Eighty pages into this collection, I'd say I'm in the first camp. The man writes with that warm and simple elegance so characteristic of great Southern writers in particular. It's positively soothing. I feel as though a pipe, Tennessee whiskey, and a fireplace are required for the full effect.
Having finished Pierce Brown's marvelous Red Rising trilogy, I'm undecided about what fiction to read next. Something comedic, a la Wodehouse, might be in order. On the other hand, I have King's The Bazaar of Bad Dreams (thanks, Hannah Sproul) and Matheson's Hell House, both of which seem calculated to prevent sleep. The Cave by Saramago is also calling me - I've been assured it's gentler than the mental and emotional assault that was Blindness.