NYTBR 15 April 2012: What’s on Dave Sedaris’s Reading Shelf

The NYTBR has inaugurated a new column, “By the Book,” in which certain prominent writers are asked about the books currently on their reading shelf.  Here are the answers from Dave Sedaris:

Book on the Nightstand:   Shalom Auslander’s Hope:  A Tragedy

Last “Truly Great” Book Read:  Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy:  Ordinary Lives in North Korea; Wells Tower’s story collection Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned

Book that made him want to write:  Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

Two New Histories (from The New Yorker’s “Briefly Noted,” 23 January 2012)

The way self retrieves magazines haphazardly from her humongous “pile of stuff” is probably driving dear blog readers crazy.  She’s feeling slightly crazed herself, these days!

In January she was in India.

In February she paid a brief visit to son in Claremont.

Then she was in Bacolod.

Soon she will be in Scotland.

She thought it best to renew all her magazine subscriptions.

Hamish says there is no internet access within a 40-minute bus ride of Hawthornden.

Say it ain’t so!!!

Dear blog readers, please do not despair, self is the most resourceful woman on the planet.  When, long long ago, she was doing a residency in Fundacion Valparaiso in Mojacar, Spain, she would find a way to get to Simon’s bar, even when it meant walking 20 minutes in full noonday sun, without benefit of a hat or sunscreen.  If there is wi-fi to be found, self will find it, no matter what!

And now to the ostensible reason for this post:  reviews of two new books, both histories, by whoever writes the “Briefly Noted” section of The New Yorker (the 23 January 2012 issue):

  • “There are tons of idiots who have never used their ten fingers for anything and who wander around constantly repeating, inanely:  ‘Haitians are very lazy,’ ” the Haitian writer Louis-Joseph Janvier wrote in 1882, in a long and passionate rejoinder to his nation’s critics. (from the review of Laurent Dubois’s Haiti)
  • In January, 1943, two hundred and thirty women of the French Resistance, imprisoned under the Vichy regime for offenses ranging from pamphleteering to violent sabotage, were loaded into cattle cars bound for the Birkenau concentration camp, in Poland . . .  The survivors owed their lives to a combination of luck and bonds of friendship so strong, as one of the women remembered it, “that to die oneself would be no worse than to see one of the others die.” (from the review of Caroline Moorehead’s A Train in Winter)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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