Monday, August 16, 2010

Pillow Book Post: FIRSTIES

The second part of that title is no doubt irrelevant.

But whatever. I've decided to broaden the scope of this blog, and indulge in a few off-topic/non-review posts now and then (because I've proved to myself that simply posting reviews grows a little dull in both thought and action after a while). Audible Candy is still - wait for it - Audible Candy (one of your (eventual) sources for audiobook and fiction podcast reviews!) but it's also the repository of my (narcissistic?) thoughts on literature and movies and college and other such miscellany. Yikes. This sounds like some kind of public service announcement.

So welcome to the first Pillow Book post! (Which, according to 1) Wikipedia's article on the pillow book of Sei Sh┼Źnagon, is a collection of "lists of all kinds, personal thoughts, interesting events in court, poetry and some opinions on... contemporaries" and 2) according to yet another page on Sei Sh┼Źnagon, is: "reminiscences; opinions and imaginative sketches; and lists, some with comments, others merely lists of words." Both sound like modifiable, and eventually workable, outlines. LET IT BE SO). So without further ado, allow me to introduce...

Personal Thoughts
Studying for my driver's exam and preparing for the fall semester are turning me several shades of insane. As a consequence: the sad state of this blog, which has not seen a post since the Friday before last. I am currently in a state of catch up: I have nine, going on ten, reviews that I need to post (having defenestrated my goal of a review per day in a fit of procrastination: I have a few reviews written, but they're still first drafts and hearty exercises in grammatical ineptitude).

But the number of audiobooks that I've finished has increased: I've lately completed Haruki Murakami's After Dark (beautifully written, excellent narrator, but... hours of audio dedicated to a sleeping woman and the unexplained, supernatural phenomena that fills her television screen? Eh), Sarah Dessen's Just Listen (a story that was so engrossing that I cheerfully endured ten hours of a... less than satisfactory Playaway production to listen to it), and Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (v. exciting!)

I've nearly finished the Librivox recording of Charlotte Lennox's The Female Quixote, Volume I, and am delighted to report that it fits my expectations exactly - it pokes fun at itself and its heroine with an irony exquisitely like that of Cervantes. It's like listening to a novelization of my all-time favourite site, TV Tropes. Happily, I bought volume II at a book sale last winter, and so when the recording runs out, I can read the rest of Arabella's adventures!

I also began listening to Cory Doctrow's Little Brother. I'm enjoying it, though it requires that I backtrack, now and then, to re-listen to bits that I zoned out on. The crash course in the Internet that I've received - more detailed than simply checking e-mail and surfing sites and opening tabs - is fascinating. But it sometimes results in an information overload that only repetition can process. The world is intriguing - Doctrow combines futuristic (... though as googling "gate detection" has brought up some rather interesting results, I'm beginning to doubt my evaluation of "the futuristic", xD) with our contemporary reality, and the terror of it strikes close to home: the violation of personal privacy through computers and Internet, the mediums into which people now pour their secrets. Little Brother is a bit frightening.

And wow, the main character does not get off easily. He's losing friends, privacy, control - he cries and gets messed up and lives a grittier, more down-to-earth life than heroes usually do. There is a delicious absence of square-jawed stoicism. I love this.

My TBR list has grown by almost 1300 books. I've taken up the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die challenge, and have been spending an embarrassing amount of time compiling a list of all the books that have ever been on the 1001 list (which, according to the 1% Well-Read Challenge, boasts a total of 1294 titles). Below, a few lists because LISTS ARE FUN:

1001 Books: Currently Reading
The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox
The World According to Garp by John Irving
American Pastoral by Philip Roth

I'm half in love with The Female Quixote, as I've mentioned before. The World According to Garp is interesting - I love Irving's humour, his prose, and the absurdity of the situations into which he flings his characters with the most awesome abandon - but I don't like any of those characters, and I like Garp the least. American Pastoral is all about memories of childhood and is the least interesting, so far, of the books I am now reading and listening to. The main character (or... the character in whose POV Roth begins his tale) is  a writer, but I like him somewhat more than Garp: he sits across the table from his childhood hero and tries to dissect him, in an effort to expose him as a flawed and failing mortal. His attempts to second guess his hero, to divine his motivations and his agonies before they can be admitted, wilt without bearing fruit. His frustration is a living thing. Garp, interestingly, is just as flawed - and oftentimes as frustrated - as the writer in Pastoral... but... GAH. I can't find it in me to sympathize with him.

1001 Books: TBR (Borrowed from the library) and TBR (Owned):

Borrowed
Martel, Yann - Life of Pi
Forster, E. M. - Howard's End
Foer, Jonathan Safran - Everything if Illuminated
Puzo, Mario - The Godfather
Garcia Marquez, Gabriel - No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories
Paton, Alan - Cry, the Beloved Country
Vonnegut, Kurt - Cat's Cradle
Voltaire - Candide
Hesse, Hermann - Siddhartha
Roy, Arundhati - The God of Small Things
Proulx, E. Annie - The Shipping News

Owned
Bronte, Charlotte - Shirley
Seth, Vikram - A Suitable Boy
Hardy, Thomas - Far from the Madding Crowd
Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d'Ubervilles
Collins, Wilkie - The Moonstone
Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Fielding, Henry - Joseph Andrews
Ovid - The Metamorphoses
Rhys, Jean - Wide Saragossa Sea
Stendhal - The Red and the Black
Steinbeck - The Grapes of Wrath
Smith, Zadie - On Beauty
Sinclair, Upton - The Jungle

4 comments:

  1. 1001 books...whew! I'm going to go take a look at that now :) Good luck with the drivers test and school! I really wanted to go back to college this semester but finances did not permit it. Probably in January though...anyway, I like "pillow" posts so I can get to know people better so I will read them! Have a great day.

    Danielle

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  2. Thanks for the comment, Danielle! :) The 1001 books challenge is really worth checking out; it's like a ready-made TBR list of utterly epic proportions. Thank you for the good luck wishes!

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  3. Hi

    I have awarded you a ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD. You can find it here:

    http://allthedaysof.blogspot.com/2010/08/one-lovely-blog-award.html

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  4. Yay! Thank you muchly, Chrizette!

    ReplyDelete