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speaking of reading--have been reading novels regularly for the first time in a while (the wages of lonesome germania life), and if i might recommend a few:

Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson
The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion (okay, not a novel)
--These two are among the most powerful books I've ever read. Nearly overwhelming emotion buckling but never crumbling the carefully controlled (I'd like to say "masterly") prose. They made me grateful for humans, something I often need to, but fail to, feel.

The Brooklyn Follies and Oracle Night by Paul Auster
-the latter like, and as good as, his other great books; the former wonderful and more simple (or so I thought), a kind of love song to his dream of human community.

Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami.
-But I like Dance Dance Dance and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles better. This one more self-consciously about his usual themes, and perhaps because it features not a 30 something man who has lost a woman, as so many of his books do, but a 15 year old (16?, can't remember now) it's a bit more preacherly.

Sheesh, I'm an annoying critic.

Slow Man, by J M Coetzee
-But read and re-read Disgrace, if you haven't.

Or don't. Just some things I've happened upon here in the bookstores of Heidelberg.


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