Friday, July 22, 2011

A Little Jewel

I'm always looking for book ideas, so when I stumbled onto a link to Time magazine summer reading recommendations from 23 authors (Pack Your (Book) Bag) I was happy to explore it. Some recommendations were for books not yet published, some were for books I'd already read, some just didn't appeal to me.

But Deborah Eisenberg's choice of Skylark, written by  Hungarian writer Dezso Kosztolanyi in 1924, was really intriguing. Here's her description: “On the surface, it seems very simple and local, the story of a homely girl in a small Hungarian town, but it is electrifying, hilarious and unbelievably painful. It encapsulates just about all of human experience, like a magic diorama you enter that becomes absolutely real and endless.”

I completely agree. This poignant short novel, covering a week in the life of a simple family, reaches from comedy to tragedy and touches universal themes so subtly and honestly that I was overwhelmed. If you're interested, don't read anything else about it, just dive in and let it carry you.

PS: You've probably all experienced earworms, those annoying commercial jingles or cheesy sitcom themes that won't leave your brain. Lucky me. My earworm for the past ten days has been the beautiful Hoagy Carmichael/Johnny Mercer jazz classic “Skylark”. Check it out on iTunes – Carmen McCrae and Tony Bennett have great classic versions, beautiful instrumentals by Wynton Marsalis and Art Blakey, and k.d. Lang's version is a knockout.

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