Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Reading Update (because yesterday's post wasn't boring enough)

To follow on from yesterday's extremely boring post, I offer another extremely boring post about books that I have recently read.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Although I enjoyed this book, I sincerely hope that Dickens didn't always resort to improbable coincidences in his novels. I mean, Great Expectations had enough of that for anybody. Oliver Twist contains even more astounding coincidences. It's a bit tiring and hard to accept, but it does help to wrap up the plot nicely.

This was the second Dickens book for me. It took me many years to finally get around to reading Boz and I am happy that I did. But really, enough with the coincidental plot devises already. A Tale of Two Cities awaits my attention.

Fabrizio's Return by Mark Frutkin

Fabrizio's Return is a lighthearted and somewhat comedic novel about a priest being assessed years after the fact for potential sainthood by the Devil's Advocate, a Jesuit sent by the Pope to ask all of the tough questions and dig around for details. Along the way, we meet many interesting characters, including a rather comedic and insolent dwarf called Omero and Rodolfo, a man who wears a skeleton on his back. The novel features magical potions and seductions and music. All-in-all, this is a very good book.

Rachel Papers by Martin Amis

I have read lots of Amis, but never got around to this one, until recently. It's pretty good for a first novel. It has lots of sex and hilarity. I am not sure what to say about it, beyond that. It's well-written (of course) and a quick read. If you like Amis, you will probably like this.

Other People by Martin Amis

What a strange book is this. There is a mystery at the heart of the story about a woman who has amnesia. She manages to piece together parts of her history, but we are left to deduce other things about her and her past. Personally, I wouldn't rank this as being among my favourite Amis books (that honour might go to London Fields or Dead Babies). Still, if you must read everything he has written, you don't need me to recommend it, because you will have already read it.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

I mentioned this book in yesterday's post, but here it is again. I was totally engrossed in this book. Sure, there may be other post-apocalyptic novels out there, but this is a very poetic one. Every time I check for reviews on books I have read, I am stunned. Sure, more than 1000 people rated this as a 5 star book. Bizarrely, nearly 200, or so, seem to think that this book merits only 1 star. I shouldn't be surprised at this stage. Look at reviews for books generally regarded as literary masterpieces, and some doofus will give it one star. Even more perplexing is the fact that Microserfs -- one of the books on my list of the worst books ever written, along with The Mysteries of Pittsburgh - a book that also gets my vote for dumb titles that bear no relation to the book -- receives so many 5 star reviews.

Anyway, The Road is a fascinating book. The prose is powerful and poetic, yet restrained. It paints an evocative picture. I will admit to wondering - as Mister Anchovy did in a comment to the preceding post - how this could possibly be made into a movie. Well, if they take great liberties, then perhaps. I hope it stays true to the book.

OK, no more pseudo-book reviews, at least for a while.


mister anchovy said...

I think The Road is a very good book. I like a number of Mr. McCarthy's books, and while I liked The Road, I liked others, such as Blood Meridian and Suttree much better.

k said...

You are the second person to mention The Road in two days. I've put it on hold at the library.

Anonymous said...

Cool reviews!!


Kate said...

I'm going to pass on the post-apocalyptic genre all together, but I have heard good things about The Road.

A Tale of Two Cities has the mother of all coincidental plot devices. BUT. It's worth it. It's a great story--there's much more action/adventure than the usual Dickens book.

I have a few Martin Amis books on my list. You know, after I read all the school books I have (Mountains Beyond Mountains, As You Like It, Hamlet, Macbeth for the 5th time this year...)