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Weekend Reading

In this edition of Weekend Reading, surprising sauciness from Trotsky's former bodyguard, a big romance in a small book, a Memoirs of a Not Altogether Shy Pornographer young adult novel that examines technology's influence on our world, and more.

Jon Foro: For just over three years now, Pharos Editions has dedicated themselves to "bringing to light out-of-print, lost or rare books of distinction." Their M.O is simple: 1) Enlist adventurous authors to find (often unusual) out-of-print books that are somehow important to their writing. 2) Go get the books. 3) Publish handsome paperback editions with forewords from the authors.

This week, Pharos published Memoirs of a Not Altogether Shy Pornographer, selected by Jonathan Lethem, author of Fortress of Solitude, Motherless Brooklyn, Chronic City, and others. It's the story of Bernard Wolfe, a young writer whose Yale-honed talent for words was rendered useless by the Great Depression, who--after serving briefly as Trotsky's bodyguard--found his way into a living through writing porn for an Oklahoma millionaire at a rate of $2 per page. In his introduction, Lethem calls Wolfe's style "weird, cavorting, punning, ruminative, aggrieved and deeply humane."

If this sounds familiar, the zeitgeist for dirty letters is apparently now, with this book and My Father the Pornographer: A Memoir, which we chose as a Best Book of the Month for February. Learn more about Pharos here.

Erin Kodicek: I'm going to dip into Graham Swift's Mothering Sunday, a slim tome despite a story of epic proportions, that begins with an illicit romance. A friend has been recommending this one for awhile. In fact, I just received this email from him: "I'm being annoyingly repetitive and annoyingly repetitive--but it's so amazing. And short! (and amazing and short)." Can't wait! Can't wait!

Seira Wilson: This weekend it's nonstop middle grade and young adult fiction. First up--The Wild Robot. I'm a big fan of Peter Brown's picture books so I'm excited to see what he's going to do for his first middle grade novel. I've also been looking forward to My Seventh Grade Life in Tights about a seventh grade boy who lives to dance. Might be kind of Step It Up story but younger and funnier.  And *hopefully* in between loads of laundry and running around I'm going to get started on a YA psychological thriller, The Darkest Corners.

Chris Schluep: I'm taking home three book that are daunting for different reasons.The author Peter Carey describes Adam Haslett's Imagine Me Gone this way: "It manages to be both dreadfully sad and hilariously funny all at once." The sun has reappeared over Seattle in recent days, which should give me the fortitude to tackle this novel. I also have C.E. Morgan's The Sport of Kings, which appears to be about 9000 pages long. Sometimes those are the best books to get lost in, and I have a feeling this might be one of them. Finally, I have Don DeLillo's latest, Zero K. Starting one of his books is always exciting. He's DeLillo. I'm going to begin tonight.

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