I have been reading rather odd books lately:

The works by G. I. Gurdjieff. I especially recommend his Meetings with Remarkable Men;

The works by Carlos Castaneda. I started them because of his connection to UCLA (which is where I did my graduate school) and I became enthralled by his tales of Don Juan, the Yaqui sorcerer and shaman. If that tickles your fancy, you might also enjoy Andrea De Carlo’s Yucatan, a novel he wrote after working as an assistant to the great director Federico Fellini. Apparently, Fellini wanted to make a movie on Castaneda, but a series of spooky incidents that befell the project made him change his mind;

Edward Rice’s biography of Sir Captain Richard Francis Burton, a larger than life Victorian adventurer, who traveled through Africa, the Middle East, and India. He was the first westerner to complete a pilgrimage to Mecca, he translated the Arabian Nights, and, in his spare time, he worked as a spy in the Queen’s service.

When he isn’t reading and teaching, Gianlucca Rizzo is checking the first round of proofs for a book he coedited with Massimo Ciavolella titled Savage Words: Invectives as a Literary Genre, forthcoming from Agincourt Press. He is also working on a series of poems titled “American Obelisk,” which will eventually become an artist book, featuring the photography of Associate Professor of Art Gary Green.