May. 20th, 2016 11:12 pm
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Initial thoughts on books I recently finished reading and one that i just started earlier today:

Kazuo Ishiguro's "The Buried Giant". He does have favored themes that I also met in his other books, The Remains of the Day and The Unconsoled. But I think the Buried Giant at least had a whisper of hope in it. Knowing everything and then having the freedom to choose what to do next. We aren't shown what happens next so we have to come to our own conclusions.

'Uprooted' by Naomi Novik. Nebula award winner (best novel). Genre novel (fantasy), and I loved it. So much fun and just a touch of romance (it could have done with more!).

Now reading Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. Ive just started chapter 2. She's able to inject comedy into a horrific situation and im pretty sure I'll enjoy reading this one till the end.

love story

Feb. 6th, 2016 07:43 pm
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I need a short break from work because my head is muddled.
So I will post about Orhan Pamuk's novel "The Museum of Innocence".

First, of all, let me say that I'm a long-time Orhan Pamuk fan, circa "My Name is Red". I also really loved "Snow". However, I've been unable to finish reading "the Museum of Innocence" and have stalled somewhere in the middle. The book received good reviews, and well no one questions the brilliance of Mr. Pamuk. But man, this book is a painful, dragging read that is all about the pain and suffering of a man (Kemal), who moves at the top of Turkish society sometime in the 70s, chooses to cheat on his fiance with his distant cousin, thinks he can just continue to have the best of both worlds without facing any consequences, and of course ends up losing everything. This is fine, and I don't judge the book on the basis of its subject matter - but realllllllly do we have to put up with 400 pages of Kemal's whining and self-pity? (Another option is the story is actually about Kemal's descent into insanity and I've somehow missed the entire point). Orhan Pamuk's writing is first class - the book is atmospheric and you get an excellent picture of Kemal's character. But that character is, well, spineless, spoiled and extremely self-indulgent.

I could feel some sympathy when Kemal first fell in love (assuming it was love), and I could still initially put up with it when Kemal continued on his self-destructive path despite the obvious pain he was causing both women he (supposedly) loved, but I eventually lost my patience when the book continued to devote page after page after page to Kemal's wallowing in post-breakup misery. Eventually I was like - DUDE, THE ENTIRE THING WAS YOUR FAULT and for some reason, you seem to be enjoying your own suffering. Pick yourself up and try do some good for once in your life.

In conclusion, I'm not sure I will ever finish the book. I don't like leaving things half-read (in fact the only other novel I've never finished reading was Barbara Kingsolvers' "The Poisonwood Bible" - not because I didn't find that book worth my time, but because that story was also too painful, though in a different way).


Jan. 2nd, 2016 07:49 pm
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"One shouldn't be too sentimental about love... Most of what people call love... could just as well be with someone else. Love is a very practical arrangement, as I can hear, and that's fine in its way. But the greater that people fit together, and the greater the risks one is willing to take, the fewer options there are. I can't explain it, but it's the same with my profession; I couldn't have been something very different - there are few or no alternatives. That's how it was with Stina and me. It's like a performance that got interrupted while it was still at the beginning, and twenty-four thousand tickets have been sold in advance, and I have a responsibility to the spectators. The spectators are all those parts of me, and of her, that want to have each other; it's not just the inner prince and princess, but also the inner dwarfs, the cripples, the naughty inner children. They sit waiting because they know it has been decided that this performance should be completed. It was commissioned higher up. I feel that somewhere outside the usual pettiness, a contract has been written, and it needs to be fulfilled"

- Kasper Krone, world-renowned clown with exceptional powers of hearing, in The Quiet Girl by Peter Høeg

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