Friday, May 4, 2012

Currently Reading and off to Sydney

Currently Reading 

I've just finished The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, a novella made up of poetic vignettes set in a crowded and predominantly Latino street; the dystopian classic Brave New World by Aldous Huxley; and the comical parody Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

In addition, I've also read the short story 'Fossil Figures' by Joyce Carol Oates from the anthology Stories (ed. Michael Gaiman and Al Sorrentino).  I regard Oates as the ultimate writers' writer, and as such, I'm in fearful awe of her work. 'Fossil Figures' was a deserved winner of the World Fantasy Award and I can already say that it's one of the better stories I've read. My preferred works are often those that blur 'literature' and 'genre' and Joyce Carol Oates is an exceptional exponent of this. 

Currently, I'm reading the anthology Eleven Kinds of Loneliness by Richard Yates. Each story so far has impressed me, so much so, that I think Yates is comparable to John Cheever in terms of accomplished and assured narratives. Richard Yates' writing is both humorous and poignant and he successfully encapsulated the hopes and failures of 'everyday' Americans.

Richard Yates                         

Afterwards, I'll read The Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Stevenson is a favourite of mine. Vladimir Nabokov aptly described it as 'delightfully winey'. I think I enjoyed an abstemious red or two while reading it..

And after that it will be my newly arrived secondhand novel The Midnight Examiner by William Kotzwinkle. I discovered The Midnight Examiner in ABC's 1001 BOOKS YOU MUST READ BEFORE YOU DIE. The Fan Man is also listed there and it's the funniest novel I've read; I also devoured  Kotzwinkle's The Bear went over the Mountain, so you can see why I've been keen to read The Midnight Examiner for a while now. 

Sadly, despite being widely praised for The Fan Man, Doctor Rat, The Midnight Examiner and a number of short stories (including an O'Henry Award), Kotzwinkle is most widely recognised for his novelisation of ET. Mind you, Steven Spielberg specifically requested Kotzwinkle as he loved his work.

On the Personal Side

Off to Sydney for the Aurealis Awards where I'm honoured to be a short story finalist alongside Margo Lanagan, Thoraiya Dyer and DC White. I've never been to Australia's version of the 'big smoke' so it should be fun. I hope to go to a Greek restaurant, see some sites and generally celebrate the occasion. I'm also catching up with an old friend, Andrew Lui. I have been in contact with Andrew since kindegarten where I wore a yellow Popeye t-shirt and he a t-shirt with stripes. Both of us were terrified of kiss-chasey.


  1. heard on the grapevine ur off to sydney this week, how exciting! good luck!
    miss b kat x

  2. Thanks, Miss B Kat.

    It was nice to have a story acknowledged in both the Australian 'literary' world as well as the world of 'spec-fic'. I love it when those two worlds meet.

    We'll have to catch up next time you're in Perth