Here’s what’s on my night table right now.
After seeing the film while in Prague, I had to check out the novel upon which it’s based. The protagonist is a Czech cremator being courted by the Nazis for his services. He’s unhinged, pathetic, and sometimes hilarious. In the film, he’s somewhat easier to laugh at, but the novel retains a sense of humor I found uncomfortably appealing. Picture me in airports reading this book and laughing out loud. Read, February 2019.
Truth. Fiction. Truth/fiction. What is fiction? What is truth? Every page prompts a consideration of these big questions. But… if i’m honest I got the most pleasure out of Herodotus’s colorful explications of the customs of ‘barbarian’ lands. They’re rich, editorial, and never fail to inject a human aspect to a narrative (about war) that can sometimes lose sight of the people involved. In my translation (Aubrey de Selincourt’s), Herodotus will often end one of his long digressions with something like “So much for the Libyans” or “More could be said about this tribe, but now I must move on.” These transitions —abrupt but honest — always made me smile. Read, February 2019.