Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Books Unwrapped

First, some political commentary (in Ramon's absence) from WA...



I've started to unwrap and read the book pressies on my bookshelf. I turn the paper into a dustcover for each book. This wrapping paper classification system could revolutionise libraries everywhere



Don Quixote has been the bane of my reading life for some time now. It's half a million words and it's marvellous but PLEASE GOD MAKE IT STOP. Don Quixote is someone telling you the same joke 500 000 times. I have about 80 000 words to go. The first book I unwrapped was an illustrated and abridged version of Don Quixote. It's like Cervantes' ghost is mocking me


On average, I have to unwrap six books to find one book I want to read. The poetry books are great but, call me an ungrateful sprog, I can do without fantasy, Brian Castro, and some book about a woman buying a farmhouse in Spain

So far I've read:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
by Michael Chabon. 4 stars. Brilliant, sad, funny

The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth. 5 stars. Very Austro-Hungarian. Just superb

Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. 1 star. Unbelievably racist and sexist. Jane had rocks in her head. If you haven't read this, you might not know that Tarzan goes about hanging Africans from treetops for the greater part of it



26 comments:

Mad Cat Lady said...

Fantasy is about the only genre I read :) Except for some travel books.

squib said...

I love sci fi. Not sure why I can't get into fantasy. I liked it as a kid

Mad Cat Lady said...

"Johannes Cabal the Necromancer" by Jonathan L Howard is great.

I've been avoiding the sci-fi lately. I think the Honor Harrington series wore me out.

squib said...

By fantasy I mean hobbits and elves

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer sounds cool. I might get around to it in about 180 books time

Lewd Bob said...

You have no right to be ungrateful squib! Your dad, remember, rocks!

The book I want to stop is Umberto Eco's Island of the Day Before. The man has moments of genius and high comedy, however he is a terrible bore and a nerdy know-it-all. He went on about doves for around 25 pages! Give me Melville and his whale tangents any day.

Personally, I'd love to get my hands on New Zealand Poets in Performance.

eat my shorts said...

Bob, I started reading that book in my early teens & only finished it a couple of years ago.

Mr E Discharge said...
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Mr E Discharge said...

Personally Squib,
I had regarded your fathers gift as a piece of high Art.I never would have sullied the piece by unwrapping a single book and reading it. I would have left it intact for the future. As a sort of latter day Joanna Southcott's Box. I mean no disrespect, but post only to reitterate the fact that I think your Dad is totally fucking awesome.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

You should try the Yiddish Policeman's Union as well Squib.

And I do love The Radetzky March.

Mad Cat Lady said...

I read the Yiddish Policeman's Union after you mentioned it before and it is all kinds of awesome.

Mad Cat Lady said...

I tend to classify fantasy as any kind of other worldly. Not exclusive to dragons and elves.

Some of the bookstores here have a "paranomal romance" section for all the vampire/werewolve books now.

squib said...

Lewd, meant to say am really enjoying the CDs. Have been playing them in the car. Favourite line from NZ poets:

I would knit a light refrain
into the woolly clouds

something like, 'Welcome to
the world, are you having a good time?'


Mr E, yeah it's very Christo but they still look wrapped in their dustcovers

Ramon, I talked about the Yiddish Policeman's Union a long time ago on my blog, remember? You recommended K & C, you called Chabon a mensch, and you told a Jewish joke about a lightbulb

MCL remembers

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Oh, yeah.

I can tell the joke about the lightbulb again, if you like.

squib said...

You can do Ramon. At least it will up the comment count so I don't feel quite so uninteresting

Perseus said...

"Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. 1 star. Unbelievably racist and sexist. Jane had rocks in her head. If you haven't read this, you might not know that Tarzan goes about hanging Africans from treetops for the greater part of it..."

Sounds awesome!

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Right-so.

"Q:How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a lightbulb.

A: None. I'll just sit here in the dark.

Alone."

And I think you're interesting, Squib.

squib said...

Thanks. I think I'm fascinating, also

Especially after a few beers

Pepsi said...

I found Kavalier & Clay tedious, dull and predictable, it was hurled across the room a number of times before I finished it.

It is the only Chabon I've read.

squib said...

Predictable?! So from the start, you just knew that Kavalier was gonna rescue Salvador DalĂ­ from a diving bell, that he was gonna fly around Antartica in a plane made of dog, and that he was gonna jump off the Empire State Building with the aid of lackey bands?

Pepsi said...

German kid escapes Nazis to join distant relatives in the Americas, kid doesnt fit in but makes friends with his cousin, kid tries to bring family to America to join them but tragedy struck and they all die before they can arrive, kid grows up and meets a girl, they get it on, then fall out, kid runs off to war and leaves girl preggers, she marries cousin, kid returns years later after harrowing war experience, reunites with child via magic cause child is odd (just like its dad), girls husband (aka the cousin) falls on sword so kid can get the girl back, everybody lives happy every after - the end.

The Dali bit was a blink and miss it couple of pages in a very long long story.

The war bit in the snow was probably the best bit.

squib said...

Well, if you put it like that...

I just unwrapped another book called 'Man-Shy' and the blurb reads: is the story of a red heifer who is abandoned by his mother but escapes the plodding routine of the herd to join up with the scrubbers

oh man

squib said...
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Alex said...

is the story of a red heifer who is abandoned by his mother but escapes the plodding routine of the herd to join up with the scrubbers

What?! A book about a cow who somehow manages to generate gender confusion. Is the main character named Alex?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

German kid escapes Nazis

Said kid was Czech, Pepsi.

squib said...

Alex, I want to check that blurb again but I can't remember which wrapping paper it was

Just thought how weird is this?! We were discussing the Yiddish Policeman's Union and next thing you know I pick up a book about a red heifer. Freaky!

Alex said...

I want to check that blurb again but I can't remember which wrapping paper it was

Squib, if your system does revolutionise libraries, I predict that libraries will suddenly become awesome. More so.