Monday, November 14, 2022

Current Readings: Hurakami, Dylan Thomas, Dunbar

I almost always have more than one book going at a time. One reason is because I have an audiobook going in my car while driving, most of the time. And then I am nibbling through two or three books at a time for my "evening meal" or "snack" before bedtime. Occasionally I find myself snakebit and have trouble turning off the light to get my needed shuteye, though it's been quite a while since the last time I read all night rather than get the rest I needed.

Here are my current reads:

Men Without Women: stories,  by Haruki Murakami. 
When Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature the year following Bob Dylan's achievement, I was not surprised. His work is stellar, has always been original, potent and rewarding to read. Strangely enough, I have been totally unaware of Murakami, for whatever reason, but like Ishiguro, he is a "wow!" His prose is breathtaking. The writing draws you in, and his stories always deliver. 

To be honest, this is my first Murakami volume, and so far I've only read the first four of the seven stories it contains. They were each so complete, so power-packed, so revealing, so mentally and psychologically stimulating that I don't know whether to keep reading, or re-read the stories I've already read. 

The title is actually misleading. Though it purports to be about men without women, each of the first four stories contains gems of insight about the complications of relationships with the other sex. 

Bob Dylan and Dylan Thomas: The Two Dylans, by Jeff Toons and K.G. Miles
Dylan fans everywhere will want to read this insightful book. While it's true that there has been no definitive answer as regards how Bob Dylan chose to become Bob Dylan--as opposed to performing with his birth identity of Robert Zimmerman--this book unearths all manner of connections between the two giants, Welsh bard Dylan Thomas and Minnesota's Nobel Prize winner. 

Before long I shall be offering a more details overview of this book. Initially I approached it with a measure of curiosity. It didn't take long to find this book to be offering something more. And the more I learned about Dylan Thomas, the more I felt impelled to pick up some additional books from the library about him. One is an audiobook version of Thomas' play Under Milk Wood. Two others are books of literary criticism and the fourth a large volume of his collected works. For the past several days I've included a couple of his poems in my daily reading.

The Net Beneath Us
, by Carol Dunbar. 
Carol Dunbar is a regional author who lives here in the upper midwest. We first met via Zoom as members of an advisory board for the UWS School of Writing. Her lifestyle intrigued me, a writer who lives in the woods. What impressed me, though, was her productivity. Our first meeting took place at the bookstore in Fitger's where she was doing a book signing. I was hesitant to purchase yet another book to add to my pile, but should not have been. From the start I was mentally stimulated by her use of language, original metaphors and vivid descriptions. I'm one-third through it, and it is an impressive first effort. If you have any doubts, check out the 42 reviews on Amazon, nearly all five stars.

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You can find all three of these on Amazon at the following links:

Men Without Women: Stories

The Two Dylans

The Net Beneath Us

Related Link: Ten Minutes with Carol Dunbar

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