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Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sunday Salon: Reading Three Books at Once



     The luxuriant laziness of the three-day-weekend.... Today was bliss, lolling around, reading, secure in the knowledge that I do not have to get up and put on real clothes and real shoes tomorrow. My seniors are reading Frankenstein now, and between reading for teaching and reading for reviews, I find myself reading three or more books at a time.

     First, there is Frankenstein: I read this for a graduate class, and then reread it at least once. Now I am reading Shelley's highly original novel for the third or fourth time. I love this book for its complexity, for its originality, and also because it is just so thematically and structurally suggestive. I have the Signet Classics paperback, which my students are using, and the Norton Critical Edition, which has critical essays and historical and biographical materials.





     Back when I was in graduate school, I read everything I could get my hands on about Mary Wollstonecraft, mother of Mary Shelley. Wollstonecraft was a radical feminist in the 18th century, author of The Vindication of the Rights of Women, among other books. I'm pretty excited to read Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley. I just can't get enough of these two groundbreaking women.

     When my students finish Frankenstein, they will be reading connected novels in book clubs. So I've started reading Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (It was a Hollywood film, Bladeruuner). I'd say I'm about one-third of the way through this science-fiction classic, and I think it will work as a connecting novel for Frankenstein. Some of the same questions raised in Frankenstein about morality, ethics, and what it means to be human, are present in Philip Dick's futuristic tale of a bounty hunter who is pursuing highly realistic androids.

     And finally, on a completely different subject, I spent all of today reading Tessa Hadley's The Past, a gorgeously written novel about an English family. It's really lovely, and I just want to get lost in it.


     What have you been reading this weekend?

12 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I've never been interested in reading Frankenstein until I read your post. I'm reading The Swans of Fifth Avenue and listening to Missoula.

Terra Hangen said...

I started reading Is He Popenjoy? by Anthony Trollope today, and I am in the middle of reading The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna, very entertaining novel about a man who abruptly walks away from his mundane life after saving a baby hare. "Paasilinna has been amusing Finns for 30 years and readers in 25 languages." NYT

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Sold! I'm adding Frankenstein to my reading list. Your seniors are blessed to have you as their teacher.

Bryan G. Robinson said...

Nice connection with Frankenstein and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? I know when I was younger, one of my favorite movies was Bladerunner and I always meant to read the book (I don't think I did). I'm usually a monogamous reader, but if I do read more than one book at once, it's usually only two. Three!??! That's crazy. ;)

The Intrepid Angeleno said...

Well now I'm interested in reading Frankenstein and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep as well!!!

Enjoy your 3 day weekend! We don't get one, unfortunately.

bibliophiliac said...

@bermudaonion-Well, if I can't get all of my seniors excited about reading Frankenstein, at least I'm reaching the bloggers!

bibliophiliac said...

@Terra-I would love to be reading Is He Popenjoy! That is one of the books that has been on my TBR shelf forever!

bibliophiliac said...

@DebNance-Great! And I can recommend Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep as a companion read!

bibliophiliac said...

@Bryan-Reading three books at once really is promiscuous! The good news is that I finished two books, The Past, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Slowly annotating my way through Frankenstein.

bibliophiliac said...

@Intrepid Latino-i can definitely recommend reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep after you read Frankenstein--a great pairing, so much to think about...

PJcruisers said...

I have read Androids Dream... and loved it. I find Phillip K Dick an interesting study in and of himself. He believed that he received an epiphany from God concerning all his books. He then wrote like a madman until he died. Currently half way thru The Man In the High Castle for the second time.

Lisa said...

I was just listening to Maureen Corrigan's review of The Past on NPR and added it to my wish list. Glad to have your recommendation as well.