Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reading Update

Sky Gilbert - English Gentleman: For me, this was not an enjoyable read. It was more like a labour, and not one of love. Maybe it's because I have never read Peter Pan and have never seen any movie or play of Peter Pan. Maybe it's because we used to make fun of Peter Pan. In fact, as children, when we didn't like someone's boots or shoes, we called them "Peter Pan getaway boots." I found the massive amount of fictitious correspondence to be rather tedious, though I will admit that it was very well done. In the end, I guess I really don't care very much about the real or fake James Barrie. I was happy when I reached the last page. I give this book 3/5.

Justin Cartwright - White Lightning: I have no idea why Justin Cartwright is not more famous. His writing appears to be effortless and he's a true pleasure to read. I can't possibly give this novel the praise it deserves here, so if you are interested, I recommend this review. I give this book 4.7/5.

Geoff Nicholson - Still Life with Volkswagens: Every now and then, one has to read something funny, something bizarre, really. How about Neo-Nazi skinheads, exploding Volkswagens, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, and Adolf Hitler? I will have to read the first book, Street Sleeper. You might want to start with it too. I give this book 3.9/5.

Michael Winter - The Big Why: I thoroughly enjoyed This All Happened, Winter's first novel, but I would wager that this one is better. It is a thought-provoking fictional portrayal of Rockwell Kent's time in Newfoundland. Winter is someone who is clearly at ease with all facets of the English language, and one thing that impressed me is his mastery of dialogue and wit. I give this book 4.3/5.

J.M. Coetzee - In the Heart of the Country: I would describe this book as being a very challenging read, but probably one that is worthwhile. In truth, I have enjoyed some of Coetzee's other books more, but there is something compelling about this one, though it is at times a frustrating reading experience. I give this book 4.2/5.


Toryssa said...

Still Life With Volkswagons? How very reminescent of Still Life With Woodpecker!

I like the funny satires... I might have to look for him next time I'm at the book shop.

zydeco fish said...

Still Life With Woodpecker? Never heard of it.

k said...

So, what is it that determines the decimal ratings? Do you take .1 off for something, like in skating?

zydeco fish said...

It's a very complex set of mathematical formulas. My copy of an English Gentleman, for example, had two typos, so I made a deduction for that. Other deductions are far less obvious. The decimals really open up the 5 point scale. One 3.5 book may not be as good as another, but might be better than a 3. Perhaps I should have awarded a percentage instead?

Super Happy Jen said...

I'm jealous that you have time to read books.

k said...

No, I was just curious what made a book, say, get 3.9 rather than 4.0. It's an interesting concept.

zydeco fish said...

k: Well, the real answer is that I gave odd numbers just to see if anyone would notice.

Jen: I hear you.