What books have you finished recently and how'd you like 'em?
What books have you finished recently and how'd you like 'em?
I've just finished the one mentioned in the Reading rubric at the top right of my postings: Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo's Fem knivar hade Andrej Krapl (Andrej Krapl had Five Knives). I had read a short-story of hers that I didn't really understand, and wondered what the novel was going to be like. But the novel is great. I've just written a review, but I don't want to post it up here, because the Swedish Book Review are going to publish it soon, and I've promised not to publish it elsewhere yet.
But it's about a young woman who wanders, visits, makes and breaks relationships. The atmosphere is good, dreamlike, there is an air of mystery. But the unnamed settings feel real.
The author won the Runeberg Prize with it. This is a Finnish literary prize that is open to all citizens of Finland, whether they write in Finnish or Swedish and whether they are male or female. This time it was a woman, writing in Swedish. The Finnish translation will appear later this year.
Even if you don't read Finnish, you can see the names of previous winners here:
Six of the 22 winners wrote their books in Swedish. "Palkinto" is the Finnish for "prize" or "award".
My reading so far this year:
Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink -- Treatments of food and things food-related from the archives of the magazine.
The Importance of Being Ernest and Other Plays by Oscar Wilde -- Plays from the man more known for his wit and lifestyle than his body of work. Blistering critique of the manners and mores of the upper classes, but sadly, the work shows its age.
Breakfast at Tiffany's & Other Stories by Truman Capote -- BaT is wonderful, but the best of the bunch is A Christmas Memory. Recommended for anyone who only thinks of Capote as that strange little man with the funny voice on the late-night chat shows back in the 70s.
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh -- There's nothing I can say that would be original or contribute what others have already said and written about this book.
The Letters of Noel Coward -- I fell in love with Noel Coward, despite his being both gay and dead. Never wanted this to end and so I read...
Private Lives & Other Plays by Noel Coward -- The situations of Private Lives and Blythe Spirit have been borrowed by second-rate television and film writers for so long now that a moratorium should be passed against further recycling, but these are the real deal in their original glory. For both this and the letters
Cocktail Time by P.G. Wodehouse -- It's Wodehouse and I'm a sucker for Wodehouse. Nothing I say would be objective.
Bobbed Hair & Bathtub Gin: Writers Running Wild in the Twenties by Marion Meade -- The lives of Edna Ferber, Dorothy Parker, Zelda Fitzgerald and Edna St. Vincent Millay through the 1920s. Fascinating and fun, but limited. First, the author tends to want to take the reader inside these ladies' heads without attribution (though there are sources listed in the end notes) which I found unsettling. Also, the book ends with the decade of the 20s, leaving these four compelling stories hanging, along with the reader.
The Portable Dorothy Parker -- Recommended to anyone who doesn't know who Dorothy Parker was or, and most especially, people who only know her as the acid-tongued wit of the Algonquin Round Table.
The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester -- See what passes for an Irene Wilde Review in the General Chat section.
A Dance to the Music of Time -- The First Movement by Anthony Powell -- The first three books in Mr. Powell's intricate 12-volume tale of the lives of several people from the early 1920s on to the late 1960s/early 1970s (I'm not sure which, I'm not there yet). The first movement covers the 20s into the depression, focusing on three young men -- Peter Templer, Charles Stringham, and Kenneth Widmerpool -- as seen through the eyes of writer Nick Jenkins.
Last edited by Irene Wilde; 25-Jun-2008 at 16:24. Reason: Typo in the name St. Vincent Millay
It's what I have a blog for, but I'll do the six words thang here:
Marguerite Yourcenar, Coup de Gr?ce (Grace Frick): Modern romantic tragedy, end of nobility.
C?sar Aira, An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter (Chris Andrews): Humboldt's physiognomy naturally rearranged, gone awry.
Ryū Murakami, Almost Transparent Blue (Nancy Andrew): Burroughs does Japan, or vice versa.
Last edited by nnyhav; 25-Jun-2008 at 23:25. Reason: (forgot the translators!)
This is, to date, what I've read this year. I've fallen into a bit of a reading slump these past few months and I only feel I'm getting out of it now. Sadly, with the motivation to read went to the motivation to write about what I did read, although I do intend to have a bit of a reread of some of them as they are about 100 pages each.
039. The Changeling, Robin Jenkins
038. Jamelia, Chingiz Aitmatov
037. Alphabet Of The Night, Jean-Euph?le Milc?
036. Metropole, Ferenc Karinthy
035. Badenheim, 1939, Aharon Appelfeld
034. Mary, Vladimir Nabokov
033. Lobster, Guillaume Lescable
032. Sulphuric Acid, Am?lie Nothomb
031. With Borges, Albert Manguel
030. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
029. Born Yesterday: The News As A Novel, Gordon Burn
028. Goodbye, Columbus, Philip Roth
027. Envy, Alain Elkann
026. Clean: An Unsanitised History Of Washing, Katherine Ashenburg
025. We Are Now Beginning Our Descent, James Meek
024. Becoming Abigail, Chris Abani
023. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
022. Silk, Alessandro Baricco
021. Night Train, Martin Amis
020. The Book Of Words, Jenny Erpenbeck
019. A Man Without A Country, Kurt Vonnegut
018. Doctor Glas, Hjalmar S?derberg
017. Black Dirt, Nell Layshon
016. The Hour Of The Star, Clarice Lispector
015. Snakes & Earrings, Hitomi Kanehara
014. Agamemnon's Daughter, Ismail Kadare
013. The Moon Opera, Bi Feiyu
012. A Matter Of Death And Life, Andrey Kurkov
011. The Woman Who Waited, Andre? Makine
010. The Dreamers, Gilbert Adair
009. No One Writes To The Colonel, Gabriel Garc?a M?rquez
008. Continent, Jim Crace
007. Gentlemen Of The Road, Michael Chabon
006. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
005. Secret, Philippe Grimbert
004. The Invention Of Morel, Adolfo Bioy Casares
003. Plain Girl, Arthur Miller
002. The Pilgrim Hawk, Glenway Wescott
001. Piercing, Ryu Murakami
On the go:
Basic Writings of Nietzsche, 800 pages. April 4th to...
34. 1491 by Charles C. Mann, 387 pages. January 14th to June 30th. Nonfiction History.
33. Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan, 219 pages. 24th to 30th. (U)
32. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, 309 pages. 21st to 23rd.
31. The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian, 615 pages. 5th to 20th.
30. The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bola?o, 648 pages. May 22nd to June 4th.
29. Stories by Anton Chekhov, 454 pages. March 6th to May 13th.
28. The Bible in Translation by Bruce M. Metzger, 190 pages. May 5th to 8th. Non-fiction. (U)
27. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, 502 pages. April 23rd to May 3rd.
26. Little, Big by John Crowley, 538 pages. 15th to 22nd.
25. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia M?rquez, 417 pages. 7th to 15th.
24. Critical Reasoning by William Hughes, 277 pages. 6th to 9th. Non-fiction. (U)
23. Sainte-Carmen of the Main a play by Michel Tremblay, 68 pages. April 5th. (U)
22. How To Win An Argument by Michael A. Gilbert, 163 pages. April 2nd. Non-fiction. (U)
21. Who Do You Think You Are? by Alice Munro, 219 pages. March 31 to April 1st. (U)
20. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, 192 pages.
19. Light Years by James Salter, 308 pages. 11th to 13th.
18. Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich by Stephen Leacock, 211 pages. 7th to 10th. (U)
17. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, 337 pages. 2nd to 7th.
16. Rock Springs by Richard Ford, 245 pages. February 28th to March 6th.
15. Mind Over Mood by Dennis Greenberger, 243 pages. Non-fiction. (U)
14. Agapē Agape by William Gaddis, 112 pages. 20th.
13. In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje, 244 pages. 15th to 16th. (U)
12. The End of the Road by John Barth, 188 pages. 12th to 14th.
11. Son of a Smaller Hero by Modecai Richler, 207 pages. 10th to 12th. (U)
10. Lives of the Saints by Nino Ricci, 248 pages. 8th to 10th. (U)
09. Maria Chapdelaine by Louis H?mon, 162 pages. 7th to 8th. (U)
08. Roughing it in the Bush by Susanna Moodie, 237 pages. January 25th to February 7th. (U)
07. Independence Day by Richard Ford, 451 pages. 22nd to 31st.
06. The Floating Opera by John Barth, 252 pages. 12th to 14th.
05. Half-Breed by Maria Campbell, 184 pages. 10th to 12th. Memoir. (U)
04. Black Robe by Brian Moore, 183 pages. 8th to 10th. (U)
03. The Wars by Timothy Findley, 218 pages. January 7th. (U)
02. The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, 275 pages. 5th to 6th. Non-fiction.
01. The Collapse of Globalism by John Ralston Saul, 280 pages. December 26th to January 4th. Non-fiction.
Last edited by ions; 01-Jul-2008 at 04:57.
ions, I admire your record-keeping -- I'm one of those that keeps their tax papers collected in an old shoe box along with some 8-track tapes and leftover pizza. What did you think of 100 Years of Solitude? Do you have a review you've done you could point me to? I didn't see anything when I did a thread search. Personally, I tried very heard to love this book and completely failed at it. I put it down as proof that I should never read anything with an Oprah Book Club sticker on the cover.
OKay i see who she is.I'm so glad my TV is only pluged to a DVD player.It make the world a little bit cleaner when you choose the rubbish you watch!
My June read:
Andreiev, Leonid: The Red Laugh
Agualusa, Jos? Eduardo: A Feira dos Assombrados
Cazotte, Jacques: The Devil in Love
Cort?zar, Julio: Todos los Fuegos el Fuego
de Assis, Machado: Helena
de S?-Carneiro, M?rio: Lucio's Confession
Kundera, Milan: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
Pessoa, Fernando: The Book of Disquiet
Pinto, Fern?o Mendes: The Voyages of Fern?o Mendes Pinto
Richter, Hans: Dada: Art and Anti-Art
Schwob, Marcel: Le Roi au Masque d'Or
My Revolutions, Hari Kunzru
The one still ringing in my ears is Independent People by Halld?r Laxness, a title mentioned somewhere in a forum that I would otherwise never have known about. It's my favorite so far this year along with The Master by Colm T?ib?n and In The Lake of the Woods by Tim O'Brien.
I do sort of feel I should read something by T?ib?n, seeing as I'm going along to his event at Edinburgh next month, purely for Patrick McGrath, but it would be nice to know what it is that has put these two together on the bill.It's my favorite so far this year along with The Master by Colm T?ib?n
As for awards, I really rarely pay attention to them. For me, reading is a personal journey; I've got to feel more connection to the material than some blue-ribbon committee thinks it might be good for me.
Indeed Irene, I completely agree with your assessment of 100 Years. Flat. There were a few nice passages but overall quite plain.
Just finished Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen. Sucked. Just terrible.
I finished Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garc?a M?rquez last night, picked up a couple of other books but couldn't get more than a page into them, and broke my rule regarding not reading two books by the same author in rapid succession, picking up 100 Years of Solitude. I'll let you know how it goes.
I feel as if I'm just really getting a grip on M?rquez and seeing his themes.
Inspired by Stewart and Ions, I've done a similar list ? interesting particularly as an easy way of seeing the diversity of nations I'm reading from.
Maigret and the Toy Village by Georges Simenon
The Life & Loves of a She Devil by Fay Weldon
Adventures of Casanova by Giacomo Casanova
The Book of Evidence by John Banville
Piaf: A Passionate Life by David Bret
Nothing to be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes
Roadside Picnic by Boris Strugatsky & Arkady Strugatsky
Earth Abides by George R Stewart
The City and the Stars by Arthur C Clarke
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garc?a M?rquez
Perfume by Patrick S?skind
A Case of Conscience by James Blish
The Pornographer by John McGahern
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
Dubliners by James Joyce
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna
Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garc?a M?rquez
I was just looking at this about ten minutes ago. I was going to buy it and then I thought I would wait and see if I can get it in something, to my mind, better than the Sci-Fi Masterworks series. If it isn't, I'm going to kick myself.Roadside Picnic by Boris Strugatsky & Arkady Strugatsky
Sorry for the silly question but how do you do to get the flags in the message?
And then I try to claim not to be a geekette.