The OF Blog: February 15-21 Reads

Saturday, February 21, 2009

February 15-21 Reads

Not as many books read this week, despite not being at work for two extra days, due mostly to this lingering illness. Out of the seven books, one is a re-read and another is in Spanish.

51 Charles Dickens, The Mystery of Edwin Drood (re-read from 1996) - I wrote a post about this book earlier in the week and my conclusions haven't changed in the interim.

52 Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: Fables & Reflections - This sixth volume in The Sandman series has a personal meaning for me, considering a friend of mine quoted passages from it in a letter she sent me when I was going through a rough spell in my life. It's hard not to think of her whenever I read on in this series, so instead of commenting on this and the seventh volume, I'd rather just acknowledge the ways that stories can be tied in with people one grows close to in life.

53 Dan Simmons, Drood - Posted my review of it today.

54 Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Diarios de motocicleta - Che's writings from his 1952 trip with a close friend across South America. Interesting mixture of personal reflections and Che's observations of the brutal poverty he saw during those travels. Interesting read, although not one I'd recommend to just anyone, for obvious reasons.

55 Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: Brief Lives - See my comment above for #52.

56 Nick Harkaway, The Gone-Away World - After a six-month delay in reading it (work got in the way back in August and for some reason, I never resumed reading it until a week ago), I finally got around to finishing Harkaway's debut novel. A shame I waited so long, as I found it to be a brilliant mess of a story that hit so many personal concern spots that it'd take a while to list them. Thinking about writing a formal review of it in the next month or so.

57 Alexandre Dumas, Georges - Going to have to reflect a bit before deciding my overall opinions on this 1843 novel. This story involving a mulatto landowner's son and his struggles against racism was in turns engrossing and disenchanting, with Dumas' switching back and forth between highlighting the ridiculousness of racism and using prejudical phrases in the narrative.

In Progress:

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Las luces de septiembre

Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (eds.), Best American Fantasy 2

Future Plans:

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (re-read from 1987-1996)

Octavia Butler, The Parable of the Sower (re-read from 2008; Blogger Book Club selection for March)

Irwin Shaw, Evening in Byzantium


Matt Keeley said...

A lot of people say Dumas wasn't originally buried in the Pantheon because of his black ancestry. Frederick Douglass, who apparently never read Georges, once stated he was disappointed that Dumas never addressed racism in his works, but forgave him for the brilliance of his plotting. I Googled that quote to see if I could find it, but, alas, I could not. I did however find this:

" I am glad of the opportunity to present a work which tells the story of the rise and progress of our most celebrated colored man. To the names of Toussaint L'Overture and Alexander Dumas is to be added that of Frederick Douglass. We point with pride to this trio of illustrious names. I bid my fellow country men take new hope and courage; the near future will bring us other men of worth and genius, and our list of illustrious names will become lengthened. Until that time the duty is to work and wait.Respectfully,GEORGE L. RUFFIN.Boston, Sept. 1st, 1881"

I guess Dumas really was considered a black writer by many in the nineteenth century, though very few people today would label him so.

Would very much like to hear further thoughts on the book.

LoopdiLou said...

You make my brain hurt with how much you read. Quit. :)

Meanwhile, I genuinely need to hunt down my dad's old Sandman comics.

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