Thursday, December 31, 2009

Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog. So I did throw this one across the room when I finished it. It was so fucking French. Did you read The Little Prince for French class? Anyway, parts of it I liked. I genuinely liked the protagonists. But the tone struck me as false. As pretentious. As exactly what Renée would have hated. Plus, I'm sentimental. And O. Henry plot twists drive me insane.

Monday, December 28, 2009

David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest. This took me six months to read and I'm still in too much anger or grief to write about it. So exasperating.
So, I loved this book. Even though it took 300 pages to really follow it, even though it was discursive to the point of madness, and even though sometimes I felt like I was swimming in a septic tank of misery. There were times when it was dull, not for the sake of dullness, but to make a point about dullness. But description dragged me in and won me over. Ennet House was perfect to the last detail - hysterical in its maddening triviality and the tiny miseries of living with other people. I loved Hal, and Mario, and Don Gately. I loved the stupid jokes, and I especially loved the words and their ridiculous use. I knew, knew, that the story could not possibly gather up all the threads and tie them off. Even more unlikely that there could be some kind of personal conclusion or completion, much less happiness. It's not like I wasn't warned. Still, I wanted to throw the book across the room when I finished it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone

Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone. Twins, surgeons, nuns, unrequited love, and revolution from India to Ethiopia to New York and back again. It's overblown and dramatic, but who cares? I can't remember the last time I stayed up all night to finish a story.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Roddy Doyle, The Snapper

Roddy Doyle, The Snapper. It's the Rabittes, before The Van. Jimmy Sr is as obscene and soft-hearted as ever. It's the details and the dialogue that make this family so hilarious and right on.

Paul Davies, How to Build a Time Machine

Paul Davies, How to Build a Time Machine. Not quite the practical guide I was hoping for - but a nice little book about wormholes and such. Good pictures, funny text, everything you want in an armchair time-travel treatise. The printing of the book itself was very strange - sans serif with gray highlighting, a strange page layout, and a barcode-like motif around the page numbers - I couldn't figure it out and it was visually annoying.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms

Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms. More post-finals relaxation.