Birnbaum’s reading list: Blake Bailey’s bios, Canadian writer Joseph Boyden, and more

Comrade biblioistas,

I have read neither Richard Yates nor John Cheever’s writings, but I have enjoyed Blake Bailey‘s bios–first of Yates and now John Cheever. I am reading a wonderful novel by Canadian writer Joseph Boyden, Through Black Spruce–which caused me to ponder whether I have ever read a bad novel by a Canadian writer–I don’t think I have (I could elaborate, but I’ll save that for another time). Also, I am easing through Cheever’s Falconer and an amusing book by Alexander Waugh entitled the House of Wittgenstein, which is quite literal–it centers around a house Ludwig designed and built for his sister. Naturally, details of this nutsy and tragic (two siblings committed suicide) family abound. Peter Singer’s The Life You Can Save, Lawrence Weschler’s Shapinsky’s Karma and Bogg’s Bills and some David Foster Wallace essays round off my current reading. Galleys of forthcoming books by Eva Hoffman, Eduardo Galeano and Colum McCann are on the TBR pile.

-Robert Birnbaum, editor-at-large

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  • ROBERT

    Correction:Three Wittgenstein brothers committed suicide and the various sisters and in laws were dysfunctional and suicidal and suicide prone…

  • Matt

    Yates’s short stories are relentlessly grim. In a good way.