From My Bookshelf: Best, Fantastic, Critical
Welcome to the second installment of this feature I introduced last month. At the moment, or previous to this writing, I filled my brain with information about tile games for a work assignment, and added more to my discussion of The Fireman which I want to do be done with but feel I’ll never do justice. So I’m using this as a little break, to talk about three books from my shelves.
The Best American Short Stories Junot Díaz
Short story anthologies (especially this one) may just be my favorite books to read. Short stories are my favorite things to read generally, and when those from different authors, genres, even languages (translations) are combined I enter what can only be Reader Utopia. Anyway, I purchased the 2016 edition of The Best American Short Stories on Monday, and while I’m not really enjoying the first two stories, I am in love with the introduction by Junot Díaz, a Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times bestselling author. I would like to transcribe the entire introduction because of its brilliance, but will not. Instead, here is a snippet:
There’s something deeply consoling about that contract the novel makes with its reader.
No such consolation when you read short stories. That’s the thing – just as they’re beginning they’re ending. As with stories, so with us. To me this form catches better than any other what it is to be human – the brevity of our movements, the cruel irrevocability when those times places and people we hold the most dear slip through our fingers.
*Sigh of adoration*
Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them Newt Scamander
You know what this is about. I’m so excited for the movie I can’t stand it, and I almost crushed a fake box cover on a bookstore shelf this past Monday because I thought they somehow had the screenplay that you can’t buy until Friday. I purchased this edition of Fantastic Beasts with a complementing edition of Quidditch Through the Ages (which I may feature at a later date). One of my favorite beasts is the Fwooper, “an African bird with extremely vivid plumage,” and a song that can drive listeners to insanity. Share your favorite(s) in the comments below! Until I see the movie this weekend I will be reading up and trying to stay calm. Not long now, muggles.
Moby-Dick Herman Melville
This behemoth was published 165 years ago this week (Monday), and this particular copy is the second Norton Critical Edition. I cannot say I enjoyed reading about the big white whale, but I can say I disliked reading about it. Sadly, an abridged version would likely catch my interest more, because what I call the “scientific description chapters” are really what killed this novel for me. But this is a great edition, and if you haven’t taken on reading Moby-Dick, I suggest diving into this one.
That concludes another look at the books from my shelves. As always, thank you for reading and following.