What I’m Reading

It never rains but it pours. After a drought of ebooks from the library, three came in at once. These are:

Nemesis by Philip Roth
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Small Beneath the Sky: A Prairie Memoir by Lorna Crozier.

In paper books, the library also sent me The Wisdom Books translated by Robert Alter (with comments about his word choices and explanations of the Hebrew words and meanings).

How can I just read one of these? I started Crozier’s memoir and it’s exquisite. I also read the introduction to Alter’s translation and started Job. His discussion of the book’s poetry and how it differs from other books in the bible is fascinating; the translation smooth, powerful.

As a quick example, let me tell you about what he did with Genesis (which I looked at in the library but didn’t take home because the Five Books of Moses was too heavy a tome to carry on my walk). Looking for a translation for “tohu v’vohu” which in King James is “without form and void” as in the beginning, he explained that the second word is a nonsense rhyming word to intensify the sense of the first word which means emptiness, used sometimes to describe a desert. He came up with “welter and waste,” using alliteration the way the Hebrew uses rhyme for intensification and getting at that particular sense of empty unproductive land. To find an equivalent to the Hebrew “adam” made from “adamah,” which relies on punning, he used human created from humus. I thought it was brilliant.

Now I’m off to enjoy the sunshine. I’m catching my breath. I’ll get back to my new book on Monday, and play with that until I get my editor’s notes.

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Categories Book Stuff, Writing LifeTags

4 thoughts on “What I’m Reading

  1. am eager for your take on The Help

  2. Ooh new books, lovely. The memoir is new to me – I’ll be interested to hear how you get on with it.

  3. I loved The Help..I think she did a marvelous job creating those different characters and capturing the time period.

  4. Beth, I’m curious and leery too. I am wary of books that have got a lot of press. It’s just my contrary nature. I tend to read them years later.

    Litlove, it’s a wonderful memoir. I’m about 1/2 way through it now. I have to review it right after I finish because if I put it off, it becomes so hard to do.

    Becca, that’s good to hear. Now I’m more curious about it.

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