“If you’re going to read just one book about conference planning, Isaac Bable…” UPDATE
I know many of you are still working your way through The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, but when you finish you might enjoy The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them. It will be especially interesting for perennial grad students trapped in dissertations on literary greats about whom nothing more can, or should be said. Elif Batuman is the author. One reviewer said she is like Janet Malcolm trapped in the body of Woody Allen, but really she’s more like Stephen Colbert trapped in the body of Gilda Radner.
Update: I have finished. Some of you may want to skip the last chapter. However, chapters on her summer in Samarkand (of Silk Road fame) are interesting and informative. In the course of The Possessed, she twice declares Oraham Pahmuk to be boring (he of many novels set in Istanbul). She too is a little boring (so restful for summer reading). Is this possibly a quality of Turkish and Turkish-American writing? As I comment on the thread, the book has many non-sequiters even while puzzling over the non-sequiterness of Russian literature. Something to think about!