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Pope in his grotto
It's clever, but is it art?
(This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.)
18th-Dec-2008 06:29 am - End of the year: more about books.
At long last, finals are over. I have no idea how I did on my College Algebra final, and luckily I don't have to care, because unless I utterly failed it, I should still get a B in the class. And if I did utterly fail it -- I'll still get a C.

So. It's time once again for my embarrassingly short list-of-books-I-read-this year. I'm still a hell of a long way from "read your height in books," but I did better than last year, anyway. (And as usual, I'm not including stories and plays from collections -- just whole novels.)

Here, then, are the books, complete with commentary of great prolixity and spoileriness.

Toilers of the SeaCollapse )
er, here, have some extended rambling about Hugo and MelvilleCollapse )
Brief LivesCollapse )
FrankensteinCollapse )
CoralineCollapse )
Nineteen Eighty-FourCollapse )
reread: The Man in the High CastleCollapse )
V for VendettaCollapse )
Atlas ShruggedCollapse )
Tao Te ChingCollapse )
The StrangerCollapse )
Big FishCollapse )
Lots of Batman stuff...Collapse )
WatchmenCollapse )
The Golden CompassCollapse )
The Valley of FearCollapse )
The General in His LabyrinthCollapse )
DraculaCollapse )
This Side of ParadiseCollapse )
War of the WorldsCollapse )

Aaaand there you have it. I may not read much, but I sure do make long posts about it...
4th-Oct-2008 12:00 pm - <3
One Hundred Years of Solitude: Aureliano
After more than a month, I finally finished reading Gabriel García Márquez's The General in His Labyrinth. (Not that it's long -- it isn't. I just haven't had much time for reading lately.)

It was very good. It's a historical novel -- a fictionalized account of the last months of the life of General Simón Bolívar, "The Liberator," who secured independence from Spain for a number of Latin American countries. But the story isn't about heroics, conquests, or successes of any kind. The General is mentally and physically exhausted, and indeed almost an invalid, at the age of 47. The themes are much like those of One Hundred Years of Solitude -- decline and disillusionment and destitution. And, well... solitude.

I'm not sure what to say about it except that it's Márquez: simple and vivid, bleak, sincere, unforgivingly human, at once profound and mundane. I can't even put spoilers behind a cut, because there are no spoilers. It's not that kind of novel. There isn't climax or resolution or twists or surprising revelations... there's just this meandering account of the General's final journey, interwoven with memories and reflections on his former glory, successes tainted with the growing realization of futility.

Needless to say, I enjoyed it a great deal. I need to find more books like this one.

(ETA: Oh, hey. I just found this One Hundred Years of Solitude icon I made for a roleplay sockpuppet, like, two years ago. *keeps it*)
Batman: grrr
Been reading a lot of Batman comics lately. I didn't read many comic books when I was a kid, because the few that I picked up were so bad (apart from Sandman -- for a while I really thought Gaiman was the only good comic writer ever). But now that I have access to stuff that wasn't published circa 1960, the genre feels much more respectable, and really pretty awesome. :D

There will be lots of spoilers in here.

Hush by Jeph Loeb. Pretty, but not amazing.Collapse )

The Killing Joke by Alan Moore. Nice.Collapse )

Dark Victory by Jeph Loeb. Meh.Collapse )

Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison. Holy shit, man.Collapse )

Batman: Year One by Frank Miller. Entirely excellent.Collapse )

The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. o_OCollapse )

Also, some thoughts on the comics versus The Dark Knight.Collapse )

I'm also reading Gabriel Garcia Marquéz's The General In His Labyrinth. So I haven't abandoned real literature or anything, I promise. ;) Oh, and if anyone is comparing this to my post about Watchmen -- well, Watchmen is better than any of these comics (bar maybe Arkham Asylum, which is like a whole different genre, anyway); I was just more critical of it because I had set such high standards. I appreciate it a lot more now that I've got in in proper perspective.
23rd-Dec-2007 03:29 pm - This year's reading list...
Devil: the dark side has books
(I wrote this a few days ago, thinking I'd be able to get online sooner. It's therefore a bit outdated; I've actually finished reading Moby Dick now, and a post about that is forthcoming. In the meantime, I'm leaving this post as it is.)

Contrary to what most people think, I'm not actually a very prolific reader. At all. In fact, I've read exactly ten books this year -- or eleven, if I finish Moby Dick before January -- and that includes three short children's novels. I mean, I read pieces of other things… I read about half of a collection of Nathaniel Hawthorne's short stories, several chapters of The House of the Seven Gables, the first quarter of The 1,001 Arabian Nights (which I'm still reading; at the moment I'm about halfway through the story of Aladdin), and a few chapters of The Iliad, The Red and the Black, and Nietzsche's Antichrist. I intend to finish reading all of these at some point... hopefully within the coming year...

In any case. Some of you have been trying to "read your height" in books, or read a book for every week of the year, or something of that sort, and then commenting on those books in your journal in little blocks. I've entered on no such ambitious enterprise, but now that the year is out, I figure I'll take a moment to comment briefly on the books I did manage to read this year. No spoilers, or at least only very minor, oblique spoilers. In the order in which I read them, then:

The Master and MargaritaCollapse )
LolitaCollapse )
One Hundred Years of SolitudeCollapse )
The Dark Tower: The GunslingerCollapse )
Number the StarsCollapse )
The Devil's StorybookCollapse )
The Devil's Other StorybookCollapse )
Lord of LightCollapse )
Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsCollapse )
Guards! Guards!Collapse )
Moby DickCollapse )
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