What We’re Reading / What You’re Reading 03.15.13


It’s time for another Friday edition of the segment where we fill you in on what we’re reading, and we hope that you’ll reciprocate by telling us what you’re enjoying (or loathing) as well.

Don’t be shy, we want to hear from you! Feedback from our followers will play a role in helping us to determine what books to read, review, and feature on this site over the coming months. It will also give us a better idea of the topics and genres that interest you.

Aaron is currently reading My Struggle: Book One by Karl Ove Knausgård and translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.

This six volume set of autobiographical novels made waves when they were originally released in 2009 for their frank, candid language in which Knausgård reveals intimate details about his family, friends, and ex-wife.  Volume one, retitled “A Death in the Family” in the UK, is currently nominated for the the Best Translated Book Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

Volume One finds Knausgård fixated on death as he goes about retelling stories from his teenage years.  Here’s a sample of how the book begins:

For the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can. Then it stops. Sooner or later, one day, this pounding action will cease of its own accord, and the blood will begin to run towards the body’s lowest point, where it will collect in a small pool, visible from outside as a dark, soft patch on ever whitening skin, as the temperature sinks, the limbs stiffen and the intestines drain. These changes in the first hours occur so slowly and take place with such inexorability that there is something almost ritualistic about them, as though life capitulates according to specific rules, a kind of gentleman’s agreement to which the representatives of death also adhere, inasmuch as they always wait until life has retreated before they launch their invasion of the new landscape. By which point, however, the invasion is irrevocable. The enormous hordes of bacteria that begin to infiltrate the body’s innards cannot be halted. Had they but tried a few hours earlier, they would have met with immediate resistance; however everything around them is quiet now, as they delve deeper and deeper into the moist darkness. They advance on the Havers Channels, the Crypts of Lieberkühn, the Isles of Langerhans. They proceed to Bowman’s Capsule in the Renes, Clark’s Column in the Spinalis, the black substance in the Mesencephalon. And they arrive at the heart. As yet, it is intact, but deprived of the activity to which end its whole construction has been designed, there is something strangely desolate about it, like a production plant that workers have been forced to flee in haste, or so it appears, the stationary vehicles shining yellow against the darkness of the forest, the huts deserted, a line of fully loaded cable-buckets stretching up the hillside.

Karli is currently reading Oh Myyy! by George Takei

We all know that George Takei has recently become something of an internet phenomenon.  Between his social activism, acting career, and Facebook/Twitter activity, George Takei pretty much owns the internet.  His new book acts as a sort of social media memoir, charting his rising popularity online as well as issues he has encountered through this process such as internet trolls, angry fans, and backlash from the Star Wars community.  But there have also been some very positive opportunities and experiences, such as a newfound ability to help the community and make people laugh.  But, as Takei points out, some people don’t have much of a sense of humor.  He says:

Good grief.  If we can’t laugh at ourselves, and at one another, in good spirit and without malice, then what fun can be left?  If we must withhold all ribbing in the name of protecting everyone’s feelings, then we truly are a toothless society.  We will reach what I call “the lowest common denominator of butthurt.”

Let us know your thoughts on what you’re currently reading using the comment field below.

About Aaron Westerman

Aaron Westerman is the Manager of Web Architecture for a national human services organization. When he's not busy tearing sites apart and rebuilding them, he spends his ever shrinking free time trying to keep up with his twins, reading works of translated literature, and watching far too many Oscar nominated movies.