Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2007: Reading

I read an awful lot of crap books in 2007. Some of these I was obliged to read in order to review them; the rest I managed to select and endure entirely under my own volition. Eventually I gave up: between October 28 and November 11 I didn't read anything save for blogs and (probably) the tv guide. Salvation, when it came, was in the form of Cormac McCarthy's No Country For Old Men and Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke, both of which I enjoyed immensely.

Other quality reads were: various Nabokov novels, Gabriel Josipovici's The World and the Book, Rohan Kriwaczek's An Incomplete History of the Art of the Funerary Violin, M. John Harrison's Nova Swing, Geoff Dyer's The Ongoing Moment, and Coetzee's Diary of a Bad Year.

I carry half-read into 2008 Joyce's Ulysses, a Great Book that I have been pleased to discover is, indeed, a great book. I abandon half-read in 2007 Clive James's tiresome, turgid, and frequently nauseating Cultural Amnesia. I hope that the decision to read Ulysses and the decision not to continue reading Cultural Amnesia will set a precedent for my reading in 2008. That is, I want to read more of what genuinely interests me and less, if any, of the kind of books I have in the past tended to pick up merely to pass the time or because they were new and shiny and "topical".

5 comments:

Ben.H said...

Yeah, Ulysses is a hell of a read. I tell everyone they have to at least read chapter 4.

Did you read No Country For Old Men because of the imminent supposedly-good film or just because? Also, can you recommend a good Nabokov beyond Pale Fire and Lolita?

Happy new year!

Tim said...

Just because, although I am looking forward to the film. Seems like ideal material for a Coen Bros film.

The only Nabokov I've been disappointed by is the late Transparent Things. Apart from Lolita and Pale Fire, the ones I've most enjoyed are Despair, Bend Sinister, Pnin and The Defence. I'm yet to read Ada or Speak, Memory but they seem to be considered major works.

Happy new year to you too, sir!

genevieve said...

I would like to read some Josipovici, must do that. I wish I had had Hugh Kenner's guide to Ulysses when I read it first time around - bought it for my daughter and it looks really good. I guess it's handy for a re-read.

genevieve said...

Bit of a bashing of CA over here, if you're interested:
http://this-space.blogspot.com/2007/12/more-from-sydney-twanger.html

lucy tartan said...

I've just been to see No Country For Old Men. It's basically Fargo with damnation and no snow.