Note:These are books I am currently reading but not necessarily in the order shown


Our Lady of the Assassins by Fernando Vallejo, Paul Hammond (Translator)
Just started it and already falling in love with his style. Another book to give me a reason to learn Spanish properly.





Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust
When will I finish this book? pt. 2
I enjoy this every time I try to read the thing.
Tried to finish it in english, then tried to finish it in french.
Just can't finish the damn thing at all.





The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil, Sophie Wilkins (Translator)
When will I finish this book? pt. 1
This is great writing that fills my heart with envy and admiration. Musil is so deep it hurts. Hurts soooo good.
Note: The novel is an unfinished work but since I've yet to finish it, that may not matter very much...




The Flaneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris by Edmund White
White was the first gay writer I ever read when I was but a tiny Gloeden in my crib. His "States of Desire" gave me a glimmer of the gay world (I mean that in both senses). Now, with this book, he's given me a glimmer of the Paris that I wasn't sure I wanted to visit. Now I know I do.




At Swim, Two Boys: A Novel by Jamie O'Neill
Apparently the author wrote this book over a ten year period, mostly during his employment as an attendant in a hospital. I can't tell whether it's a joke or not. That is to say, it is supposed to be Joycean, but having never read Joyce fully the book makes me wonder if O'neill is somehow making fun of the "Irish" style of writing and gay historical fiction in general. At the same time he makes portraits of the characters that give them a fullness you don't see enough of.




While England Sleeps by David Leavitt
Regret is the theme, the selfishness and unthinking moments of youth that haunt us to old age. Pretty tiresome in the first quarter or so, then picks up to an inevitable denouement. Leavitt almost lays it on too thick but the restraint shown makes me think that he has given the protagonist the voice he deserves.




The Age of the Economist by Daniel Roland Fusfeld
I'm halfway throught it and it's a good overview of the pioneers of modern economic thought. One could use the chapter on the Neo-classicists for a lecture just as it is. I'll be using this book a lot I think. (note:the book pictured is the 9th edition and my copy is the 7th edition, so I'll have to get the new one to see how he's updated it!)




Mémoires d'Hadrien by Marguerite Yourcenar
The Emperor Hadrian recounts his life in letters to a nephew. On the good side, Yourcenar is an accomplished writer who gives life to a historical figure in a way that is completely plausible. On the down side (at least for the non-native French speaker), she used old-fashioned verbs that are not easily found in the common French-English dictionaries. I want to read this again after I've studied in France(or at least Canada).


The Economics of Apartheid by Stephen R. Lewis
A good overview of the economic reasons for the legislating of apartheid in South Africa. He uses the full panopoly of research to show how South Africa moved from being just socially segregated to legally segregated due to the very economic growth that allowed South Africa to be important on the world stage in the 20th century. Society moves as the economy does.



Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology by Gregory Battcock
Minimal and Conceptual Art move me deeply. Even though it is not a form currently in vogue, Minimalist art(and certainly the philosophy behind it)is a way of combining the political with the personal that I find important. To my mind, the rigor required to make sucessful minimal forms in any of the design disciplines is an exercise that draws on the deepest inspiration.



The Economics and Politics of Race by Thomas Sowell
This is the man I want to grow up to be. He analyzes how different ethnic groups in various settings(e.g. ethnic Chinese in Indonesia)can influence the economic growth of their adopted homeland. The outcomes for these groups are both positive(economic dominance of certain fields) and negative(backlash from the native-born or majority ethnic group in the adopted country). He's a conservative but his refusal to make everything about black/white American conflict is what makes him rigorous and relevant to me.



L'Immortalité by Milan Kundera (Editions Gallimard)
Philosophical,witty,spatial. In the section I just finished, Goethe meets Hemingway in the afterlife and they complain about the burden of the immortality of their fame even as they are dead. Love it. An added bonus is that the Gallimard version is a translation, approved by Kundera himself, from the origninal Czech to French





Comeback Cities: A Blueprint for Urban Neighborhood Revival by Paul S. Grogan, Tony Proscio
I think this editorial blurb from Amazon.com says it all: "The authors highlight four trends that explain the urban upswing affecting not just the South Bronx, but American cities in general: the growth of neighborhood nonprofit groups; the creation of new markets, including the willingness of retailers to move into old areas; falling crime rates; and 'the unshackling of inner-city life from the giant bureaucracies that once dictated everything that happened there--in particular, the welfare system, public housing authorities, and public schools.'"



Onyx by Felice Picano
The first third of this book irritated me. But then Picano's style and lyricism (which I adore) kicked in and saved this from being standard issue AIDS-survival bullshit fiction.




Also on the nightstand :
What am I doing here?-Bruce Chatwin
Boulevard-Jim Grimsley