Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence


Iblogatory List

My reading in 2005 surfeited, as I was fortunate to discover much that was well worth while; my only complaint is that time permits reading no more than 100 books per annum. But even among such riches, a few gems (not already mentioned) sparkled particularly brightly:

Disgrace, J.M.Coetzee: I'd long been puzzled why I hadn't taken to Coetzee, as his background covers many of my interests (except perhaps for computers, more deeply than I, my maths being more heuristic, and my dabbling in linguistics and semiotics more touristic). My long-ago sampling of the early novels, and more recently of the essays in Doubling the Point, did little for me; The Master of Petersburg was better (but not as good as Bradbury, below), but Disgrace is a stand-out (as if that's news). I'm still not tempted to follow up with the Costello papers, but I am prompted to go back to The Life and Times of Michael K., particularly as a companion to recent reading of W.G.Sebald's Vertigo (worthwhile but not as good as what followed).

To the Hermitage, M.Bradbury: I've enjoyed his academic satires (a genre for which I have a penchant, despite being an outsider), but this is truly culminative. Best dual-track historical narrative I've come across, I think, at least 'til I think of another*. Also nicely dovetailed as a Diderot project into some LatAm reading, A.Roa Bastos' I the Supreme (though Rousseau takes precedence there; this circles back to Sebald's The Rings of Saturn structurally borrowing from Reveries of a Solitary Walker; Roa Bastos in turn impelled me into Roussel and into other neglected LatAm such as BolaƱo, Infante Cabrera, Rulfo ... but I digress.)

Under the Glacier, H.Laxness: Among other things, a transposition of Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds from Ireland to Iceland. It gave me the push I needed in the direction Borges pointed, to read the old sagas, as a preliminary to further investigation of Laxness.

The Leopard, G.Lampedusa: The final paragraph is perhaps the finest conclusion of any novel (I think P.Fitzgerald evokes it to finish At Freddie's), not that any of the rest is slack. I'll have to follow up with his short stories. Overshadowed my discovering Bassani, Vittorini, Verga ...

Midnight's Children, S.Rushdie: Rightfully chosen as the best of the Bookers. Can't add to that.

Arcadia, T.Stoppard: Best of show for Stoppard, and that's saying something. Though I still have deep fondness for R&G are Dead in teleplay.

Of stuff that came out more recently, G.Sorrentino's Lunar Follies beat out H.Mathews My Life in CIA for enjoyment, though Robbe-Grillet's Repetition gets honorable mention; J.Barth's On with the Story did better with matryoshka device than D.Mitchell's Cloud Atlas ...

[* thought of it: Queneau's The Blue Flowers, but that's different ...]


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