If you spend time in the bookish corners of Twitter, you’re probably familiar with Friday Reads, the weekly trending topic where book lovers share what they’re reading. The goal of Friday Reads is to celebrate reading and encourage others to pick up that book/magazine/article they’ve been meaning to read. After all, the only thing more fun than reading something wonderful is talking about it.
Here’s what a few LUMINA staffers are reading this week:
Daniel Poirier (Creative Director) is reading Blood Meridian, or, The Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy
I came to McCarthy late, after the covers of reprints were already mimicking film posters, and was immediately entranced by his subtle style and gruff, poetic words. While I wouldn’t call Blood Meridian my favorite of the McCarthy I’ve read, it is a striking vision that follows the course it lays out in the opening chapters. The book is visceral in its beauty and holds nothing back, with lush symbolism threading the prose. The novel also has a reputation for its violence, which it earns, but it never feels gratuitous. McCarthy gives us a view of the mythical “Wild West” without the sheen of glory or Hollywood film. It is a dark and bloody and beautiful book.
Kevin Zambrano (Fiction Editor) is reading The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
Pessoa was one of Portugal’s most important poets, and The Book of Disquiet is a collection of various prose fragments written throughout his lifetime. The end result is part novel, part prose poem, part diary, or dream journal, or suicide note; Pessoa himself referred to it as his “factless autobiography.” There is no plot to speak of, and the narrator very rarely interacts with any other characters. Sentences trail off and paragraphs end abruptly. There is still considerable scholarly debate over Pessoa’s intended order of the chapters (though if you ask me, the order seems to matter little)
Basically The Book of Disquiet affords none of the conventional pleasures of reading. It’s something like the opposite of a page-turner. Pessoa deals so much in abstractions and paradoxes that it’s like he’s forcing you to go through his book slowly, reflect as he reflects, learn as he learns to embrace silence, honor failure, and find beauty in confusion. It’s like nothing I’ve ever read.
Natalie Korth (Blog Contributor) is reading Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie
It’s a thorough and extensive account of Rushdie’s years living covertly (his alias is the title of the memoir) under government protection due to threats of violence from conservative Muslims who believed his novel, The Satanic Verses, to be blasphemous. With armored Jaguars, safe houses, and meetings everyone from Bono to Bill Clinton, the book at times is part spy thriller, part political biography. But the best passages feel like a good essay, as Rushdie reminds us not to take for granted the freedoms of speech, ideas and literature.