I put the list of books on my blog! Here it is. The books I’d already read are crossed out, and the books I’ve read since I started the challenge are crossed out and also have a pink background (because we need to be technical and accurate ;-) ). So far I’ve read The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford and Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.
Now, this is what you need to know about me. I do not say this to boast, because after all, it’s not much of a skill in the scheme of things, but, I read very, very quickly. I read like a robot processing information. I get through a shortish book normally in an evening and actually it irritates people. ‘Have you read that already?’ they say, looking at me suspiciously, as if I've cheated. Well, yes I have read it! And even given this not-quite-a-skill, it took me a good fortnight to get through Moby-Dick. A good fortnight! Empires rose and fell. People: this is not an easy read, it is really not. I had to concentrate. I had to shush Partner (he chatters away, artlessly). I had to turn the telly off. Things became serious. However: I was not tempted to give up because, honestly, this is a great book. I mean great in the sense of really impressive. It is fabulous, or, it walks a narrow line between, complete unreadability and complete fabulousness. Which side does it fall, well you must decide that for yourself, but I will tell you that it is only £1.99 on Amazon in case you feel like having a go and I think it is so cheap because no-one wants it. I bet they can’t shift them. I bet the CEO of Amazon is sitting with his head on the desk saying, no, don’t buy any more Moby-Dicks! We’ll never sell the dratted things! Send one out free every time someone orders Twilight, we’ll hope they don’t notice!
|Quiz: what famous knitted wrap is Moby-Dick posed on?|
Because, I also want to tell you about The Good Soldier. Now this was also an excellent book. It is safe to say I would never in my life have read this by choice as I thought the title and indeed the cover (a woman in a big hat – sorry I can’t show you, I have lent it to my mother) were most unprepossessing, but, when I started it I couldn’t put it down. I won’t tell you what happens because who knows, you might read it too, but, it is all about the nature of narrative (but not in a boring unreadable way!), how you can never really know people, and social convention. It is lots of fun (well, kind of fun), and I thought the ending was very effective.
Next, I am reading Ulysses by James Joyce. I have actually skim-read this years ago, and I am a fan of JJ (start with Dubliners if you haven’t read any), but now I am doing it properly, and I am reading the Odyssey first (Ulysses is based on the Odyssey). I can say with some confidence that, after Moby-Dick, reading the Odyssey is like reading Heat magazine, so it is a nice rest before I gird my loins again for deconstructed narratives and internal monologues, oh no.
|Partner said, 'The Penguin is just about readable if you have to read it in translation', rather sniffily I thought. Look, classical academic, I can knit socks|
Other Book Masochists: how are you getting on?