I intend to write a post of this kind every time I pick up something interesting from a bookshop. This week I was able to find nice Penguin editions of two books I’ve been looking for, for quite sometime — Stendhal’s The Charterhouse of Parma and Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad.
I’ve been fascinated and mildly smitten by The Charterhouse of Parma ever since I read Phillip Lopate’s beautiful essay in Rereadings. The essay in Italo Calvino’s Why Read the Classics? only served to heighten my enthusiasm. Whether I’ll retain my enthusiasm, once I actually start reading the book, remains to be seen. Sometimes reviews and criticisms happen to be so much more interesting to read than the books being reviewed or criticised. As an aside, both Rereadings (edited by Anne Fadiman) and Why Read the Classics? are wonderful books (essay collections) in themselves. As for Mark Twain, I would have been delighted to find A Tramp Abroad, but The Innocents Abroad is a pretty good find too. It’s an amusing narrative of Twain’s experiences during the course of an organised excursion of “Europe and the Holy Lands”.
Apart from these, I discovered an author I had hitherto been unaware of — Robertson Davies. His Salterton and Deptford trilogies are supposed to be a set of interesting, stylishly written novels. So they’re going into my “to read” list.