Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by edinatlanta, Dec 23, 2010.
There were several books both pro and con that I didn't agree with...
78. The Sense of An Ending 2011 Julian Barnes
Won the Booker Award in 2011.
Addresses the lifelong relationship between a man and his first girlfriend, who dumps him for his closest friend in their early 20s.
That friend then kills himself a year or so later.
In a very surprising ending we find out why.
I really didn't care for it.
25. The Book of Kells, by Bernard Meehan (2012)
This is quite possibly the most beautiful book I've ever read. It's certainly the only one I've read with a magnifying glass handy to make sure I didn't miss any of the details.
I have seen the Book of Kells personally, but nothing prepares you for the wealth of fascinating detail that Bernard Meehan reveals in his erudite discussion of the book. He goes into its history, structure, script, illustrations, symbolism, authorship, physical structure and a whole lot more. Meehan highlights fine aspects of the illustrations that the untrained eye would never see, they are so tiny. The artistry and calligraphy he describes are breath-taking and engender awe for what these scribes and artists were capable of more than 1200 years ago.
Clockwise counting 53/50: Graham Greene - The Heart of the Matter (1948)
On the 1001 list.
Scobie, Deputy Commissioner of Police in a West African city, suffers from excessive pity but lack of true love. His Catholic faith throws him into a moral crisis when he starts a love affair with a much younger woman. This is one of Greene's best efforts, almost up to the standard of The Quiet American, The End of the Affair or The Power and the Glory. I liked it a lot. I guess this means I am done with Graham Greene, I have now read all his famous work and some of his less famous.
Clockwise counting 54/50: Leo Tolstoy - The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886)
On the 1001 list.
This small book tells the story of the mental torture that High Court Judge Ivan Ilyich experiences when he falls ill and eventually dies at the age of 45. Ilyich lived an unhappy and meaningless life, albeit with an impressive career and some financial success. It seems his mental and physical torture is the result of a wasted life. A sad story indeed. Highly recommended.
Why must you insist on writing better summaries than I?
30. Leviathan Wakes
This is what SF should be: deep, gritty, entertaining, reflective and though provoking. The story follows two distinctly different men - Holden and Miller - one who views people are essentially good-natured and the other who views humanity as essentially flawed and evil. Both accidentally play major roles in shaping current events as a war slowly begins between different parts of the galaxy.
Sorry, it was a mistake.
But thanks for getting me into Ivan Ilyich. I don't think I will ever forget that story. Hope we will both last a lot longer and a lot happier than Ivan.
I've accomplished both. And am very grateful to WHOEVER IS RUNNING THINGS (WIRT).
31. The Meaning of Sarkozy
Philosopher Alain Badiou writes an impressive analysis of the mechanics of France that have allowed Sarkozy (and other like him) an overwhelming grip of power. Beginning by characterising this era as one governed by fear, disorientation, impotence and a genuine lack of any Leftist political assertion, Badiou's writing is cutting, succinct, deep and, at times, playful. This series of writings covers everything from why voting is not political, to how the Left barely exists any more within the political sphere of France (and elsewhere).
Stimulating, difficult, challenging. REally enjoyed, but often felt fatigued - thank goodness it was on the shorter side.
32. The Death of Ivan Illych
Jumped on the bandwagon - seems quite like Walden in that it pre-empts a lot of problems of the modern day (unfulfilled feelings left after a life in the rat race letting life make a person's choices),
It seems like I'm handing out assignments. I like it.
What are those?
33. The Devil
Another Tolstoy short story. This follows a man who, while rebuilding his father's estate, satisfies himself screwing a peasant girl - quite impersonally. While life happens around him, he ends up married, but simply disinterested in his wife. He continues to lust after the peasant girl, and is afraid and ashamed of his lust, while others seem completely nonchalant.
Running along similar lines to Death of Ivan Illych - this story deals with the consequences of thoughtlessness, and the problems that arise from allowing life to 'just happen' or following a, relatively, socially normal life.
It being a 1001 book list, I've only encountered a few so far:
Should be On:
By the Banks of the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept- Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist- Same Author
No Country for Old Men- Cormac McCarthy
The Road- same author
Blood Meridien and All the Pretty Horses are on the list, but I don't think they're as good as the two above
Jonathon Foer- Everything is Illuminated
Pastoralia- George Saunders
The Clay Machine Gun- Victor Pelevin
How Late it Was, How Late- Thomas Kelman
The Emigrants- WG Sebald
If Not Now, When- Primo Levi
In The Heart of The Country- J.M. Coetzee
The Tale of a Tub- Jonathon Swift
Separate names with a comma.