Having had a bit of a reading hiatus, I'm digging into my to read-pile. This is not actually my whole to-read pile. The main mass is about a meter and a half. This is the read it now for fuck's sake or you'll regret it - pile. And it's delicious:
I started out with Neil Williamson's The Moon King yesterday, and two chapters in I'm sold. Not too clear on what's going on just yet in the strange city of Glassholme, but very much enjoying Williamson's gradual reveal of the story and the world. On the reader is also Amos Tutuola's Don't Pay Bad for Bad and Haruki Murakami's The Elephant Vanishes, both of which I'm dipping into every now and then.
Then there's the stack. From the top, three books in Swedish: Din tjänare hör (Thy Servant Listens) by Sara Lidman, one of Sweden's greats. Several of her books have been translated into English, and I heartily recommend them to anyone interested in rural Sweden and proletarian literature. I'm also aiming to re-read Norrländsk folktradition, a book of stories, anecdotes and folklore collected in northern Sweden by the ethnologist Ella Odstedt during the first half of the 20th century. Odstedt remains one of the most important sources of folklore, and this book is a treasure trove. Next is the literary vampire novel Svulten (Starved) by Finnish writer Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo, which I've wanted to read ever since last summer when I met Hannele and her book at Finncon in Helsinki. I've so far only flipped through the book, but I'm glimpsing lyrical prose. And there's the pull of Finland Swedish, which to my ears always sounds at the same time poetic, cool and stately.
For some more research (and because I love Middle Eastern folklore in general), I picked up Robert Lebling's Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and Genies From Arabia to Zanzibar. It's certainly a fact-packed and in-depth study, but I'm also aware of the potential problems with studies of cultures and folklore from a non-native's perspective. I'll need to find out what readers with an insider perspective think of Lebling's work.
Next up is Serbian-Maltese author Teodor Reljic's debut novel Two, which I just got in the mail. I don't know much about it, but Reljic shares my love for all things weird, which means I'll probably enjoy it. The cover is gorgeous and the edges are dyed blood red. Very happy to see that dyed edges are coming back in fashion. Just like Swedish writer Kristina Hård's latest novel Kleptomania, in fact, which is edged in black. The last novel I read by Hård was Alba, a melancholy and philosophical science fiction story on a colonized planet, and I wish someone would translate it into English soon. Kleptomania is the first installment of an urban fantasy series. And there be airships in it. And I already know that I love her prose.
The two books at the bottom are of the type that you put off reading because you don't want to have finished reading them. Karen Joy Fowler's Sarah Canary I first encountered through Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward's Writing the Other, which apart from being an extremely important work also contains a truckload of book tips. And then there's Liz Hand's Errantry, which I really don't want to end. I'll probably read some this week and then put it away so it'll last longer.
Now, off I go to Glassholme.