Mizbooks has invited us to share books we’ve come across this week that sounded really good, and since there’s never a lack of those for me, I’m happy to oblige.
Just this morning at breakfast I was reading the latest issue of Bookmarks magazine and found a review of this novel – Fall of Frost, by Brian Hall, who “uses the techniqes of fiction to explore the life and troubles of poet Robert Frost.” The novel is centered around Frost’s visit to Kruschev shortly before the Cuban Missle Crisis, when Frost was himself an infirm 88 year old. The novel apparently goes back and forth in time between 1962 and the “tragic events of Frost’s past.” I don’t know a lot about Frost, but I do love his poetry, and admit to a predilection for reading about the tumultous lives of famous poets. The “unconventional narrative structure” of the book could be a disadvantage for a Frost neophyte, however. It’s told in 128 short vignettes that dramatize events from Frosts’ life, and these appear in nonchronological order, so unless one is familiar with the basic details of Frost’s background, it could be difficult to follow. Bookmarks recommends one read a basic biography of the poet before attempting this novel. Robert Frost: A Life, by Jay Parini, was recommended to satisfy that requirement.
I’ve been in the mood for a good biography for some time, having not read one since February when I completed Claire Tomalin’s very definitive biography of Jane Austen. I believe I’ll get a library search going on these two Frost books as soon as possible.
The other book that really appealed was found on the very next page of the magazine. Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories, by Tobias Wolff. Many of you know I’m a recent convert to the short story genre, having become an enthusiast while completing this year’s The Short Story Challenge. According to the terms I set for myself going into that challege, I was to read five collections of short stories, and the collections I chose all happened to be authored by women. But over the past months, I’ve heard great things about Tobias Wolff, and since this book is something of a greatest hits collection, including 21 previously collected stories as well as 10 new ones, it seems like a good place to start. Liesl Schillinger, New York TImes Book Review, says “for readers who aren’t acquainted with Wolff’s writing…this book can function as a portabe Wolff, concentrating some of his best work in one place and reflecting the breadth of his gift in the short form.”
Some good finds this week, right?
Now I’ll go hunting for some other worthy specimens to add to the TBR pile.