what the boy reads

Thanks for everyone’s warm comments yesterday — my husband is already home from the hospital because the surgeons were on holiday (??) and will have to wait a little longer for his surgery. At least he’s home with me, which is a relief.

In honour of that, I think I will write about my husband’s reading interests for a change! He manages a bookstore and has more books than I do, although our tastes don’t always overlap.

[Or first, the final answers to the first lines of my favourite books quiz.

1. For a long time, I went to bed early. ~ In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust, as identified by Atla at Book to Book.

3. What can I say about love? ~ The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys, identified by Rachel at Book Snob.

6. That morning’s ice, no more than a brittle film, had cracked and was now floating in segments. ~ The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen, again identified by Rachel.

10. Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. ~ The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, as guessed by Allie at A Literary Odyssey.

I’ll have to write more about these books later, especially Proust!]

My husband is rather obsessive about book lists, for a start. He is often madly scribbling out a new list of his favourite 10 authors or genres and loves to read book lists also. He loves what he terms ‘transgressive literature’ and ‘literary genre’ — anything from Bret Easton Ellis to James Ellroy to William Gibson to J. G. Ballard and William S. Burroughs. If it’s a bit disturbed, he likes it. He recently read The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek and loved it and right now he’s rereading his favourite Chuck Palahniuk, Choke. He also loves mystery novels (Elmore Leonard), science fiction (Philip K. Dick) and horror (Clive Barker), as well as philosophy (Jean Baudrillard) and poetry (Sylvia Plath, Arthur Rimbaud).

What I love so much about his reading is the way he combines what is considered high and low literature, enjoying David Foster Wallace and Star Wars novels at different times, but equally. I genuinely like reading the classics, but he’s helped me to become more open minded about trying a lot of different things in my reading. I used to love reading Nancy Drew as a kid and Agatha Christie too when I was a teenager and then stopped for almost ten years until I met him. Now we both read Patricia Highsmith and Raymond Chandler, although most of our other mystery tastes differ.

I’ve also read some science fiction since I’ve known him (William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition is set in the present day but has a futuristic edge and deals in part with online communities, it is so terrific) and even a few horror novels too (not that I like being scared, but once I start I can’t stop…! And H.P. Lovecraft is absolutely glorious old fashioned ridiculous spookiness.) I’ve also started to read a few graphic novels and even comics (the Buffy season 8 ones) since he loves Alan Moore and Superman and and and so much. 😉

I love having literary discussions with my husband (he’s picked up Henry James, Virginia Woolf and D.H. Lawrence under my influence) and constantly reorganizing and reassessing our combined library! It’s our favourite lazy afternoon kind of shared activity. I feel lucky to be with a partner who shares my love of books (and one who had to read Jane Austen in university and liked her!)

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2 thoughts on “what the boy reads

  1. Frances says:

    What a lovely post. Especially enjoyed how you admire his love of both high and low brow books. It must be lovely for you to have all of these discussions and all these books about from two. Very lucky you are.

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