In a recent newsletter, Robin Sloan discussed his love for “single-session readaloud books” — he’s done an amazing live reading of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight two years running, and will be reading the Denis Johnson novella Train Dreams tomorrow — and posed the question of what other books might fit the bill:
Anyway, I have loved doing these live readings, so I want to do them more often. Finding material that fits the format, however, is an interesting puzzle – and I invite your suggestions.
If you’re reading this on or before Sunday, August 4, 2019, at 11am PT / 2pm ET — you should absolutely tune in and check out Robin’s live reading here:
To the question of what books would make for great read aloud experiences — I looked through my favorite books and came up with a few suggestions! Here’s my reply; I’d love to hear any you think of as well! Maybe we can arrange some Antilibraries live readings at some point
First that comes to mind — I think Calvino could be a lot of fun, either Invisible Cities or Cosmicomics:
Probably too long for one session, but Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, one chapter at a time, could be lovely:
Ursula Le Guin’s “nonliteral, poetic rendition” of the Tao Te Ching seems like it would be amazing to read aloud:
This one’s very short, and very interesting — 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, With More Ways gives “a close reading of different translations of a single poem from the Tang Dynasty”:
And — supremely impractical — but my pick for the longitudinal study version of a live reading club would no doubt be…
Finally, I think my top suggestion, almost designed for this format, would be Christian Bök’s Eunoia, “an avant-garde work in which each chapter uses only one vowel, creating a text that fluctuates between poetry and prose”:
Honestly this last one would be so fun I just might have to do it myself! I remember reading bits of it during class in a college writing workshop and it being a ton of fun, both hilarious in its tongue-twistiness and subject matter excess, and dazzling in its feats of constrained writing acrobatics.