The OF Blog: June 8-14 Reads

Monday, June 15, 2009

June 8-14 Reads

Lots more books read this week, due in large part to my reading of several while riding the exercise bike (after a three week shutdown to recover from tendinitis in my left knee). Short, brief descriptions since I really need to sleep some before work in 6 hours:

203 Max Ernst, Une Semaine de Bonté: A Surrealistic Novel in Collage - Already blogged about. Enjoyed it quite a bit.

204 Vladimir Nabokov, Ada, or Ardor - Don't have the time now to elaborate on how much I loved this novel. Might be the best of the four Nabokov novels that I've read to date.

205 Victor Hugo, The Toilers of the Sea - Shamefully underrated novel about a poor fisherman on the Channel Islands. Once the narrative began, it contained some scenes near the equal to his Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

206 Flannery O'Connor, Collected Works (Library of America edition) - I'm hoping to have the time to write a lengthy piece about her in the near future. One of my favorite writers. If you haven't sampled her work, do so ASAP.

207 Graham Greene, A Gun for Sale - OK, but nowhere near as good as his latter works (this book was originally published in 1936 and the narrative power is relatively weak compared to his more "mature" works).

208 Rafael Ábalos, Grimpow y la bruja de la estirpe - Second volume in the bestselling Spanish YA series that was just released over in Spain. Stronger than the first in the pacing and prose. Might write a piece closer to its North American release, presumably in the next year or so.

209 Fritz Leiber, The First Book of Lankhmar - Omnibus of the first four volumes of the adventures of Fafhred and the Mouser, this was glorious pulp fiction reading. Already have ordered the second half of the Gollancz Fantasy Masterworks edition of Leiber's stories.

210 Michael Moorcock, Corum: The Prince in the Scarlet Robe - This first omnibus volume of the Corum aspect of the Eternal Champion was not as good as the Elric stories, but I enjoyed them for the pulp stories that they were.

211 Michael Moorcock, The History of the Runestaff - This omnibus of the Dorian Hawkmoon stories is infamous for Moorcock's extremely rapid output (three days for a single novel, if I recall) and it really, really shows here. Yet despite that, the notion of the British Empire being evil and the Germans being the "good guys" made it entertaining enough, once I accepted that the prose was going to be mostly filler due to the conditions behind its writing.

212 Javier Negrete, Amada de los dioses - Erotic fiction crossed with Greek mythology. Negrete writes well, even if erotic fiction generally isn't my preferred reading, to say the least.

213 Ysabel Wilce, Flora Segunda - This first Flora novel has one of the best narrative first-person voices of any YA fiction that I've read recently. While the pacing and plotting were spotty in places, as befits a first novel, Flora's PoV was consistently engaging and I'll be reading more of her tales in the very near future.

214 Jonathan Rosenberg, Goats: Infinite Typewriters - Print version of one of the most well-known webcomics. The craziness and the adroit use of pop culture made this a real delight to read. Book comes out in stores on June 30, with two more volumes to follow in the next few months. I'm certainly going to be reading more of these, for the Chaos Pope, for Oliver, and all the other wild and zany characters!

215 Michael Moorcock, The Dancers at the End of Time - Homage of sorts to the dandies of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras of English literature. Interesting plotline, with the characters' ennui being portrayed almost perfectly.

216 Brian Evenson, Fugue State - Evenson's latest short fiction collection, just released in the past week. Excellent and certainly will make my year-end list of the best Short Fiction Collections.

217 Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 - Pynchon's earliest novel and in it, the seeds of what germinated with Gravity's Rainbow are sown. Not enough time or energy to elaborate on what I enjoyed about this short 152 page novel.

In Progress:

Ildefonso Falcones, La mano de Fátima

D.H. Lawrence, The Plumed Serpent

José Saramago, El año de la muerte de Ricardo Reis

Roberto Bolaño, 2666

Stuart Archer Cohen, The Army of the Republic

Future Plans:

Andrzej Sapkowski, Narrenturm

James Thurber, Writings and Drawings (Library of America edition)


Chad Hull said...

I wish my weekly reading output was half of what you've got through. What's the trick?

M. L. Kiner said...

"The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.

Larry Nolen said...


The trick is a combination of being able somehow to read very rapidly, plus now reading while riding my exercise bike for 1-2 hours a day. That and reading during breaks at work enables me to finish around two books a day now.

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