Posts Tagged ‘the many faces of love’

8th August
2011
written by Steph

Don’t you just hate it when you have this huge backlog of books to review for you blog (like, we’re talking months behind here…) and you’re starting to feel like you’re making forward progress and then wham! You find yourself having to write about a book that was so totally mediocre (if inoffensive) that you kind of no longer have anything to say about it anymore. Because let me tell you, it’s not that the intervening months between my having finished Matrimony and actually writing about it have been unkind to the book so much as they have been indifferent. As in, if it were not for the notes I hastily jotted down when I finished it, I might not be able to say anything about it at all, because it has not really endured in my memory. I am thinking that we may have to retitle the book “Mehtrimony”, because that’s pretty much how I’m feeling about this book. I kid, I kid. I just mean this book is kind of forgettable. [Also, please don’t comment and say that you never have a backlog of books to review for your blog because I will both: a) hate you, and b) not believe you.] (more…)
3rd August
2011
written by Steph

In the 2+ years (we're swiftly approaching 3 years... where has the time flown?!?) that Tony and I have been running this website, I think we've covered about one short story collection per year, if that. Try as I might, I just don't really connect well with short stories. They so often leave me feeling bereft and unsatisfied, like there just isn't enough there for me to really sink my teeth into. I very much want to be the kind of reader who enjoys the art of the short story, since I feel like people who genuinely like short fiction are in a reading class well above mine. Me, I tend to stick with strict fiction, occasionally meandering into narrative non-fiction... but one day when I am a wise reader, I would like to dive voraciously into volumes of short stories and maybe even poetry. Alas, that day has not yet come, and so I still stick to pedestrian works of writing that hover somewhere around 350 pages. To me, that's the amount of time it takes to tell a story and good. Of course, judging by Van Booy's debut collection, The Secret Lives of People in Love, he'd strongly disagree with me. Some of the stories are only THREE pages long... approximately 1% of a regular length novel! If brevity is the soul of wit, then Van Booy must be a very witty man indeed. (more…)
5th August
2010
written by Steph

One of the things I try very hard to do on this blog is write something about each and every book I read. For some books, this is easier said than done… sometimes I don’t have tons to say about a book because it failed to make much of an impression (hence my tag of “mehcommendation”), but sometimes writing is hard for a very different reason.  Sometimes a book is SO GOOD, it just defies my own attempt to grapple with it linguistically. Last year I read The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima and it was definitely a case of the second issue. It was a brilliant book, but it was also very difficult and challenging, and in the end, I never felt like I was able to sufficiently collect my thoughts to say anything marginally coherent about it or that would come close to doing that literary masterpiece justice. I must admit, it was the only book in 2009 that I didn’t review, but I’d hate for any of you to think it’s because it wasn’t any good. Y’all know I don’t mind sharing my loathing of a book when that happens to be the case; words rarely fail me when I’m peeved! After reading Temple I was determined to read more Mishima. I am open about the fact that my knowledge of Asian authors is not nearly as good as it could be, so I was happy to find an author from that part of the world who really wowed me with his poetic prose stylings. One of the things I respected so much about Temple was that while it was very Japanese in its setting and its perspective, I found the writing very approachable and surprisingly western. Yes it could have been a good translation, but I tend to think that in order for literature in translation to really sing, it has to be pretty impressive in its original form as well. The writing was melodic and precise and incredibly evocative. I was really impressed by the psychological depths that Mishima explored in his writing, and admired that he wasn’t afraid of going to some very dark places. (more…)
29th July
2010
written by Steph

When Tony and I were preparing for our Puerto Rican adventure, I agonized over what the perfect vacation read would be. I knew I’d be reading it on my Sony eReader, but that didn’t limit the field much. I dug deep and realized I was in the mood for a love story and something that was tropical in setting, since I figured my reading experience would only be ameliorated by being in the exotic haven that is Puerto Rico. And with that, the clouds parted and it became clear it was finally the time to read Love in the Time of Cholera. I read my first Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, just before I started blogging and it was love at first read. I could feel my mind expanding as I read that glorious novel, and I found Marquez’s way with words intoxicatingly seductive. It was a book I read slowly and carefully, anxious to savor each bit of it, determined to absorb all of its brilliance. It was a book that rocked my world, and I soon began to collect other books by this genius author so that I could work my way through his back catalog and revel in his brilliance. But I was also scared, because I’d heard many people state that none of his other books lived up to the transcendence of One Hundred Years. I worried that Marquez wouldn’t be able to capture that magic more than once, so as much as I craved more of his writing, I held off until now. (more…)
22nd June
2009
written by Steph

Sometimes reviewing classics can be a pain in the bottom, because much of what you think of saying has already been said before, probably far more intelligently than you can think to put it, and likely in someone’s doctoral dissertation (then again, who really reads those?).  Also, it can be difficult to review a classic when you get that divide happening between enjoying a book and appreciating it.  Moreover, sometimes a book was so powerful, the writing so precise, it makes it seem foolish to try and use my words to pay homage to it any way, shape, or form.  And then there is Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair, in which all of these factors conspire against me writing a coherent and meaningful review. (more…)