WWW Wednesdays is a weekly book meme hosted by Should Be Reading. The idea is to answer three questions:
1. What are you currently reading? – I am about to finish up The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, which I am finding to be a wonderful – and underrated – example of mid-20th century speculative fiction, with a slow-handed, thoughtful style more often found in non-genre writing. This may sound strange, and maybe it’s because I recently read my first Barbra Pym book, but I keep thinking this is what it might be like if Pym took a turn at writing science-fiction/horror. There is something similar about the gentle prose, subtle and knowing characterization, quiet bits of humor and general “Englishness” of the setting that gives me that feeling. (This is the book upon which the film Village of the Damned – with the freaky blond children – was based, but the book is much better and less lurid than that movie, in my opinion.) I definitely think this 1001 Books List entry would appeal to fans of Ray Bradbury, who also wrote in a thoughtful, “literary” style.
I am also slowly nibbling my way through Julien Gracq’s The Opposing Shore, which is my Classics Club Spin pick, so I need to try to finish it up by July 1st. It is good but also quite dense. I am hoping it will pick up a bit so that I might find the pages turning a bit faster.
2. What did you recently finish reading? – Yesterday I finally finished Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith. I am still digesting this one and trying to decide how I feel about it. There are moments of pure genius spinkled between messy, meandering passages that can try the reader’s patience. It had the surreality (and cats and dreamworlds) of Haruki Murakami but without as much control of the overall narrative, and it had a number of very disturbing, hyper-violent scenes that feel more like they might have been taken from the playbook of “the other Murakami,” Ryū Murakami. It was brilliant and infuriating and incoherent and funny and horrifying and…and…and… Let’s go with “It’s hard to describe” for now.
3. What do you think you’ll read next? – Around the 1st, I expect to start both Red Moon by Benjamin Percy, which I won from the Goodreads Firstreads program and want to review, and Death in Venice by Thomas Mann for an online discussion group. I try to alternate speculative fiction of any kind with non-genre fiction or nonfiction (or read both simultaneously) so that I don’t get stuck in a rut. I am looking forward to both of these titles.