12 September 2008

I've been productive!

Really. I have. Ok fine, I've played a lot of PackRat, too.

As many of you know, I have a little start-itis problem with books and knitting projects, books being the major problem. I recently made a list of all the books I recently started but didn't finish yet:

The Green Knight by Iris Murdoch
Feather Man by Rhyll McMaster
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
The Dead Father by Donald Barthelme
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
How to Read Novels Like a Professor by Thomas Foster
The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Why We Read Fiction by Lisa Zunshine
The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
The Millenium Problems by Keith Devlin
How Beautiful it is and How Easily it Can by Broken by Daniel Mendelsohn
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
Grendel by John Gardner
Swann's Way by Marcel Proust (now, that one I haven't started recently but it seems that everytime I try to read it I have to re-start)

And I'm sure there are others I missed. I decided to try and make a bit of a dent in the pile. I finished The Time Traveler's Wife first; Niffenegger has an interesting concept in the narrative thread of the book. It is vaguely linear, with view-points by both Claire and Henry which gives each character a great deal of depth. I only had a few bones about the ending - I thought it was trite and lacked a good emotional punch (I'd gotten invested in those characters then it seemed Niffenegger just ran out of steam). I also polished off How to Read Literature Like a Professor which is a really easy-to-read book; I plan to yoink a bit of his insights about Iris Murdoch (I think he's got a soft spot for her). Next up was How Beautiful it is and How Easily it Can be Broken which is a book of criticism by Daniel Mendelsohn, a collection of his work from various New York sources. Mendelsohn has a great writing style, educated, reflecting his post-graduate work in Classics but not obviously trying to be remote and obscure. Some of the best essays were either reviews of new productions/adaptation of classical Greek drama or were reviews of movies thinly based on Greek epic or drama. A very enjoyable book. Guns, Germs, and Steel was an easy polish-off; I didn't have much left and the book had run out of steam and was merely re-capitulating earlier points (it was good up until that point).

I then trimmed down Feather Man (caught back up with the "Book Explorers" for BNBC); FM is a first novel by a very respected poet in Australia. Although the novel does have some unsettling subject matter the author writes beautifully about Sooky's vision of her own world as she grows up in 1950s Brisbane. I'm trying not to read too far ahead of my group in The Green Knight because it's harder to keep track of everything when I've read through the novel.

I have The Dead Father and Trainspotting in my bag today; I'll see what I can do about those (The Dead Father is really, really hard to follow because it is so incredibly far into the post-modernist style). I will sit down this weekend, biting the bullet, to finish Breaking Dawn; it just isn't as interesting as the first three books in the series so I might as well be done with it (there are 200 pages left).

Current book-in-progress: I'm really trying to read a bit of criticism for The Green Knight (thankfully, there isn't very much)
Current knitted item: Finishing second pair of booties (must be done by baby shower on October 12) and I'm doing a few more "surprise" items
Current movie obsession: Velvet Goldmine (though since I've been busy reading I haven't been watching anything besides the morning news)
Current iTunes loop: Lucy Woodward is Hot...and Bothered (excellent jazz/lounge-sounding album)

1 comment:

  1. Can I just say that it makes me very happy to know that I'm not the only person so does this.

    Nor am I only person that restarts Swann's Way from the beginning each time. (Although, I get a little bit further each time!)