The OF Blog: A slight detour was taken

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A slight detour was taken

I needed a bit more variety, so I decided to read new (at least to me) fictions this weekend before resuming my re-reading projects.  So far, I have finished the following books since last Friday night:

Peter Burke, Varieties of Cultural History (don't know if I'll review it, but if enough interest is expressed in the comments, I'll do so)

Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer (review either tonight or tomorrow)

Michal Ajvaz, The Golden Age (review probably tomorrow)

Manuel Mujica Lainez, El unicornio (who wants a review of this, published in English as The Wandering Unicorn?)

Zoran Živković, Escher's Loops/Esherove petlje (review in the next day or two; read this alternating between the Serbian original and the English translation)

Tariq Ali, Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree (again, who wants a review of this?  Respond, please)


Plus I'm likely to finish Adam Roberts' Yellow Blue Tibia later tonight.


Erikson's third Malazan book, Memories of Ice, might be finished by tomorrow.  I'm at the 1/8 point right now.  Simmons' Fall of Hyperion will fall to Tuesday or Wednesday for its completion.  Nice to have so many reading possibilities at my fingertips.  I'm only about 2/3 into my book cataloging and I'm already near 1400 books.  A little over 300 of those are not in English.  Need to keep (re)reading those as well.  Maybe a Borges/Bioy Casares month later this year?  Who wants that?

18 comments:

José said...

Larry, a review of Mujica Lainez and Tariq Ali would be welcome.

Larry said...

The Mujica Lainez one might be one of my trickier ones to do, José. I read it over 4 weeks in Spanish, but will have to write the review in English and that might warp quite a few of my memories, as I've found in the past when trying to write a detailed review of a book I read in a non-English language. But it is a beautiful work, so perhaps.

Paul said...

Looking forward to hearing what you think of the Ligotti and Zivkovic, as both are in my to read pile.

Larry said...

Ligotti will be up in a few minutes. Just a couple of paragraphs to go. Might write the Escher's Loopsreview in the afternoon tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I have an English translation of the Lainez -- a paperback I actually bought at a grocery store years ago. It has an introduction by Borges. The novel is either a snooze or badly translated -- you could probably determine which.

Jeff Ford

Larry said...

Jeff,

In Spanish, the prose was ornate and beautiful to read. The story, however, was quite boring at times, so I'd say that the translation probably wasn't all that good and that while the writing was elegant, the story was nowhere near the level of the sentence-by-sentence prose. The worst of both possibilities, no?

Lasītāja said...

Well, this is a spam, but just look at this headline. I had to share it with you: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/may/23/i-fought-the-squirrell

Anonymous said...

I would also appreciate a review of the Ali book.

-CN

Larry said...

Nothing with "squirrel" in it is spam! :D

The Ali may be reviewed later today, if I have enough time and energy. About to be mostly gone for a while.

Gio Clairval said...

Wow, Larry, you're the fastest reader on earth. I'm going to ponder your reviews and pick my next books to read accordingly.

Larry said...

I'm not quite that fast, Gio. Yes, I've had (too much) reading time of late, though.

So...which books you're considering?

Anonymous said...

Larry: Thanks for the rundown. Yeah, that's a shame. Did the editions you've seen have the Borges intro?

Jeff Ford

Larry said...

No, Jeff, I didn't have any introductions at all for it. However, I wonder if it might be in this collection of Borges' introductions that I have. Let me check...

No, not for this particular book. Did find a Borges introduction for Mujica Lainez's The Idols in one of my two collections of Borges' prologues/introductions to others' works. Might blog about that in a month or two, whenever the mood strikes me to write a series of reviews of Borges' fiction and non-fiction.

Anonymous said...

Larry: Actually, it's not an introduction, it's billed as a foreward -- what ever the difference is between the two. The copy I have is a mass market from Berkley Books.

Jeff Ford

Larry said...

Yeah, it's hard for me to keep the two separate in my mind. I wonder what the original publication date was for the translation, since the original Spanish edition was apparently 1965. Seems like it hasn't been in print since the 1980s, looking at Amazon.

Anonymous said...

I've got the book in my office here somewhere. Let me find it and I'll get back to you on the translation date if it's in there also the translator.

Jeff Ford

Anonymous said...

OK, the translator is Mary Fitton. Ever heard of her? I couldn't find anything else on her. Lainez apparently didn't have a steady translator. Interesting bit of side info -- Mary Fitton was the name of the woman it is believe that Shakespeare wrote his Dark Lady sonnetts to. Do you think it's a cover name for someone else?

Jeff Ford

Larry said...

Huh, now that is very interesting indeed! I did a quick "mary fitton translator" google and it took a while to find anything more recent than the era of the "Dark Lady," but it might be a real person's name. Unfortunately, this translator apparently didn't do a great job rendering Portuguese into English, so the apparent deficiencies of the Mujica Lainez translation were not limited to that one.

 
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