Happy Friday ya’ll! Here’s what Soho is reading these days:
1.) Looks like I’m on a Curtis Sittenfeld bender. Prep was such a fantastic novel, that within 8 hours of finishing, I was onto American Wife. (That was only an hour ago, so I’ll report back next week with a verdict.)
-Bronwen Hruska, Publisher
TL is about, well, a lifeboat of survivors after the sinking of the fictional ship Empress Alexandra just a couple of years after the (real, obvs) sinking of The Titanic. The cast of characters is deeply realized and their unraveling in the face of what befalls them is both horrifying and heartbreaking. And, it’s wonderfully written to boot. And, OMG that cover.
-Meredith Barnes, Publicist
3.) Still reading Satantango by László Krasznahorkai and it’s absolutely getting better and more frightening with every chapter. I’m keeping myself from a total nervous breakdown by interspersing this with short stories from the Fall 2011 issue of American Short Fiction—an incredible lit mag that never misses, and now that I think about it, totally shatters me every time I pick it up. So either way I’m going to be upset. Everyone can just deal with it.
-Rudy Martinez, Marketeer
4.) Technically, I’m still reading the same book as last week, but I’ve also been sporadically reading a collection of selected movie reviews by Pauline Kael called The Age of Movies, which came out last year. Obviously, Kael is one of the greatest movie critics of the last century, and even one of the best nonfiction writers, in my opinion. She could be incredibly stubborn, but to read her praising movies like Nashville or The Godfather, it’s hard not to feel that film is the greatest medium in human history (uh, after books, of course).
-Scott Cain, Editorial Assistant
5.) Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock ‘N’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (lent to me by the estimable Scott Cain, my source at Soho for all things film related).
-Michelle Rafferty, Publicist
6.) I’ve been reading a lot of Jeffrey Knight’s academic essays lately. He’s a medievalist who studies the practices of Shakespeare’s readers in the 17th century. In brief: since binding costs were expensive, publishers printed unbound texts almost like pamphlets, which readers then combined with other purchased plays in whatever manner they liked. This collage-like behavior created some really cool intertextual combinations—Falstaff goes from comedic to contemptuous—and is an awesome example of direct reader involvement! Talk about a whole new level of fangirling.
-Katie Hoffman, Editorial Assistant
7.) I’m reading Beneath the Underdog by Charles Mingus. It’s a lyrical autobiography that is undoubtedly a jazz musician’s, told entirely though dialogue. The narrative, which slaps themes of religion, race, and sex like a true bassist, mirrors the same (deceivingly) improvised and ambiguous rhythm of jazz. A delightfully manic read!
-Simona Blat, Editorial Assistant
8.) Just rereading some John Cheever short stories. Suburban couples get drunk and act happy, but it turns out they’re actually all miserable always!
-PJ Horoszko, Intern
9.) I’m reading Mary Roach’s Stiff. I feel a crime editor should know how cadavers work.
-Juliet Grames, Senior Editor
10.) I am re-reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It feels karmic, as it’s the current selection for the book group I’m in with Bronwen’s sister-in-law, which is how I came to Soho. (Juliet, yesterday, you and I briefly discussed how karma can be a bitch sometimes. This is the opposite.)
If we can vote for best Friday Reads, though, I’d choose Simona’s. Mingus = up there with Vonnegut, Judy Blume, and Jimmy Page. Well done.
-Daniel Ehrenhaft, YA Editor
**Late addition from Mark Doten, Editor:
Ninety Days by Bill Clegg: A clear-eyed account of the author’s attempt to get 90 days sober after years of alcohol and drug use. It’s a sort of limit case of a universal issue: that we lie to ourselves, that these lies inflict damage on our lives and the lives of those around us. In spite of its brevity—and the warmth and sympathy that Clegg brings both to his younger self and to the other members of his recovery groups—it’s an emotionally brutal read.
What are you reading? Let us know!