Thursday, April 10, 2008

Review of Books What I Haven't Finished

Ulysses - James Joyce
Best book in the world as voted by those who struggled through it and want some goddamn recognition for their suffering. As no-one can finish it without feeling this deep sense of achievement the claim remains untested by impartial observers.

The Iliad - Homer
Achilleus, Atreus and the Achaians are just the A characters introduced in the first friggen paragraph! My brain, knowing when it is beat, disconnected power to my eyeballs at that point.

The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen
Got about fifty pages in and was enjoying it, but then got distracted by several other books and forgot basic premise and the names of all characters. I'm left with the quandary of not wanting to start at the beginning again, but knowing I'll be flying blind if I pick up where I left off.

And De Fun Don't Dun - Robert G Barrett
I love the early Les Norton novels. This was really flogging a high horse in the mouth.

Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace
This is so named because it is what bookshop staff inflict on you for fun when you walk in and ask them to recommend 'something good'.

Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
The world's shortest book. I've started it eight times and am beginning to believe it contains some trigger for a repressed memory of some considerable suffering I have previously endured (possibly attempting to read Infinite Jest). After each attempt I wake several days later, covered in vomit, in Whitmore Square and decide to rent Apocalypse Now instead. The horror, the horror indeed.

Atonement - Ian McEwan
Lost me early with a seventeen page description of a vase. Knickers has since picked it up and assures me it is only about a paragraph, but I know what I read. Maybe she has an expurgated version. Anyway, it'll be out on dvd shortly.

Going to Meet the Man - James Baldwin
I'm just not as sixties hip as I thought I was.

The Cockatoos - Patrick White

The Cockatoos. Sounds relatively harmless doesn't it? Probably similar to The Magic Pudding or The Muddle-Headed Wombat. I'll give it a whirl.
Can someone please tell me why all Australian literature is mired in misery? It's not like we all live in Elizabeth.

The Unknown Terrorist - Richard Flanagan
The author made the same mistake as Andrew McGhan with Underground; confusing rabid hatred of the government with literary endeavor. I read the later out of respect for previous achievement but felt I owed no such debt to Mr Flanagan.



At April 11, 2008 at 9:27 AM , Blogger Kath Lockett said...

I feel your pain, myninjacockle, I really do. As a recovering Arts (Major English Texts) graduate, I could barely endure 'Heart of Darkness' and had to read both 'The Iliad' and 'The Odyssey'.

Ulysses has sitting on my bookshelf for years, still unread, and 'Atonement' was given back to my Dad after I sat through the underwhelming film version. Others that look good on the pine planks but have yet to be either a) enjoyed; b) finished, or even c) started, include:

*A suitable boy - Vikram Seth (scared by the size)
*Three Patrick Whites - agree with you, he's about as approachable as a Seven-eleven bandit with a syringe
* Some Peter Goldsworthys - I don't just 'get' him.....

That's why blog-reading is so much fun!

At April 12, 2008 at 9:14 AM , Blogger myninjacockle said...

If you mess them up a little they will at least look read - that's what I do anyway.
Don't mind Peter Goldsworthy's poetry (but I've only read a few).
Is it okay if I adopt 'approachable as a Seven-eleven bandit with a syringe'?

At April 12, 2008 at 10:47 AM , Blogger Kath Lockett said...

Sure - but link me, buddy!

Oooh, just as an aside, the word verification thingy wants me to enter:
.... that's slightly personal, don't you think?

At April 13, 2008 at 8:22 PM , Blogger Jonathan Shaw said...

Germaine Greer said on TV that she'd slit her throat if The Unknown Terrorist got short-listed for the Booker. What are all the people thinking who say it's anything other than what you have described

At April 14, 2008 at 9:31 AM , Blogger myninjacockle said...

Kath - I'm a moral relativist when it comes to qwertyfugging, as long as proper precautions are taken and no children or animals are harmed.

Jonathon - Proof of my theory that if you talk long enough you'll eventually say something that sounds vaguely sensible.

thank you.


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