September 28, 2010

Reading diary: June 2010



JUNE 2010


35. Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám of Naishapur by Edward FitzGerald




Some great dazzling quatrains. I'm surprised to see this book as one of "50 best cult books." I'm very tempted to share my favorite quatrains. In another post, maybe.


36. The Double Helix by James D. Watson




Science is fallible and human and, in certain moments, sublime. The Double Helix attests to this. It is a memoir of scientific discovery, but reads like a novel because of the suspense and the witty voice of Dr. Watson. His breakthrough on DNA structure is told without sanitizing the events. He just tells it as it is and in a very candid way. Science can be fun.


37. The Art of Fiction by David Lodge




For the common reader, a very friendly source book of literary concepts and devices (e.g., metafiction, intertextuality, magical realism vs. surrealism, interior monologue vs. stream of consciousness, allegory vs. symbolism). Prof. Lodge made it look as if these aspects of fiction can be easily spotted in a book. The discussion of quoted passages from novels is very informative, except when Prof. Lodge discusses his own works. This is a big turn-off for me and so I'm never curious to put his books in TBH (to-be-had pile). Overall, it's a useful book on fiction fundamentals.


38. Yes by Thomas Bernhard, trans. Ewald Osers




The lack of paragraph breaks must be a European/Latin American quirk. Bernhard, Sebald, Saramago, Marías, Bolaño. Every one of them seems to be rebelling against narrative form. It must be some kind of political statement. Yes is one of Bernhard's relentless rants. There is something oddly uplifting in the whole exercise. Bernhard's cantankerous sensibility will either disarm or repel the reader. I am solidly in the first camp.

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