The OF Blog: May 3-9 Reads

Sunday, May 10, 2009

May 3-9 Reads

As I hinted at a day or two ago, this will be the shortest weekly reading list so far this year, at only two completed entries and a few other in-progress reads. Perhaps it'll pick up this week, perhaps not, as I want this blahness to fade first.

164 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún - Tolkien's poetic rendering of the Old Norse version of Siegfried and the Dragon and its related myths was entertaining in places, but there were also places where he apparently struggled to keep the translated story to a natural poetic rhythm. Not a bad read, but to me it became obvious why Tolkien never really returned to polish the remaining rough spots for publication; there just wasn't a "general audience" for it in the 1920s and the need to revise perhaps was too much for a father of several young children at the time.

165 J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition - As I said in the Book Porn post below, I had read several of these pieces before in The Best Short Stories of J.G. Ballard. Still, what he did with these fictions written in the 1960s and (I think) early 1970s was impressive. Psychological impressions combined with a clinical writing style made for some chilling entries.

In Progress:

Nicola Griffith, Slow River

Roberto Bolaño, 2666 (re-read)

Johann Wyss, The Swiss Family Robinson (re-read)

Michael Moorcock, Jerusalem Commands


Wm. said...

Larry, curious to know...what's your favorite Moorcock novel?

Also, have you read anything by Haruki Murakami? I picked up 'Kafka on the Shore' because of a recommendation. Would love to know your thoughts on this writer, if you are familiar with him. Generally I avoid translations, as having grown up speaking two languages I am always suspicious reading from page to page, that I've just missed out on a brilliant pun or a beautifully-worded image.

Lsrry said...

Don't have a particular one, since I'm still fairly new to his works (first one, an Elric collection, I read in February 2008). But the Pyat Quartet is up there, no doubt about it.

As for Murakami, I've only read Kafka on the Shore and (currently) a little bit of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Enjoyed what I've read, but I haven't put too much thought into it, since the first novel I read in 2007 and 50 pages isn't enough for me to gauge if I will like the second one.

Agreed on the translation bit, which is why I never have read any translations of Bolaño, even when my Spanish wasn't sufficient at the time to really "get" Los detectives salvajes when I read it in early 2005.

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