If on a winter's night a traveler
by Italo Calvino
Perhaps the greatest literature class I ever took involved a professor who knew not only how to pick the material but talk expansively about it. Unfortunately he went down about halfway through the course due to illness, and so I never got to read Calvino, at least at that point. At least I'm pretty sure that's how I ended up with this book in the first place. Either way, I did read Mr. Palomar on my own a few years ago, because the title shared a name I'd used in one of my own books. Reading the first few pages of this one reminds me that Calvino is probably as pure a writer's writer as you'll get, which is something of what John Fante achieved in Ask the Dust and what was probably the weakest element of Graham Greene's The End of the Affair, both of which I've recently read, and to say that I look forward to reading the rest of traveler.