La Conquête de Plassans - Émile Zola +
The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it... I can resist everything but temptation.Oscar Wilde
The City and the City by China Miéville.
This is my first China Miéville novel. I found his style to be somewhat jarring, which may be a good and/or bad thing, and found myself leaning towards being dismissive about this novel. But in the end, after having finished the novel, I find myself still thinking about it. And that has to be a good thing.
Bram Stoker, Dracula +
Very different from what I expected, as I thought it would be a more agile narrative. Very slow at times and I have to say it, dull at some other moments. The first part, with the Jonathan Harker's journals from Dracula's castle are just amazing, breathtaking and full of suspense. Then it falls down in a very monotone set of letters, journals and gazette's notes to finally recover for the last 100 pages. It's hard to think this average book and be so representative and important through our days, just by a few moments, situations and images. Not bad, but I definitely expected way more from a book it is considered a classic.
William Styron - Sophie's Choice : It was pending with me for a long time (almost 10 years). At 630+ pages, this demanded a lot more time dedicated. The first reaction after finishing was on how brilliantly he constructed the book, from chapter 1 till the end. One day if I ever get to write a book, this will be one I go back for guidance. I am very impressed.
The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever
Part 1 of my attempt to develop more of a taste for short fiction (as well as another Pulitzer-winner notched), this mammoth (700 page) collection of the so-called "Chekhov of the suburbs" is quite a good way to start trying the genre (I've previously read some short detective stories by Doyle and Chesterton, but detective fiction isn't really a major interest of mine). There's some okay stuff here, but a number of really standout stories. I know that Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men, has talked a lot about his love for Cheever, and you can see some influences (there's even a character named "Joan Harris" in one of them, as well as another story with a Madison Avenue advertising executive). Some of my favourites would be "The Children", "The Duchess", "The Five-Forty-Eight", "Clementina", and "The World of Apples".
The Saga of Burnt Njal
Bernardin de Saint-Pierre: Journey to Mauritius
László Krasznahorkai: Satantango
The last one of these is probably one of the best books of the century; hard to believe it was LK's first published novel.
Jorge Luis Borges, El Oro de los Tigres
One more book and I'll complete all his poetry
Just be grateful you have one, you bleedin' SoB, .
Stuart Ayris - Tollesbury Time Forever
I recently came across a thread on Goodreads discussing "what makes a good read". For one person, it was "a cute couple and a happy ending", but for me, I think I'd say it's a matter of "voice". I like a book that has a clear, individual, compelling voice that I feel I can hear as I read. This book has that. The narrative is strong and pulled me in from the start and kept me interested throughout. I felt as if I was following a sort of Ariadne's thread, knowing full well it was leading on to monsters within. It's a contemporary, self-published novel about the inner voyage of a paranoid schizophrenic, written by a psychiatric nurse who has some insight into such conditions. It's not a perfect book. In particular I thought the female characters were lacking in definition, though at least they weren't just there for the wanking as in so many novels.
Jpod by Doug Coupland -- light, satirical and fun.
I'm interested in pretty much everything Coupland has written, he's put the work in to assessing the experience of living in the wired world, but occasionally I do think, well --- we could just switch off, or ignore advertising... and it all goes away. We're not all dupes. But Coupland does suggest there's this pull and push of the web, it inspires/ it infuriates.... we can't do without it/ sometimes we wish it would implode, and the party just ends.
Anyway.... along with FIRE SEASON, by Phillip Connors there's two finished books.
I've also picked up some new reads .... such as Steinbeck's THE MOON IS DOWN... and Cormac McCarthy's CHILD OF GOD.... and around 8 other novels to sample-read to see how they take...
Last edited by Hamlet; 11-May-2012 at 21:56.
"Man cannot do without beauty, and this is what our era pretends to want to disregard"
Myth of Sysyphus ~ by Albert Camus