amari_z: (worst thing about new books)
Since I just posted my summary of 2009 in books, we'll pretend it's still the beginning of the year. So here is my annual Big List of Shame for 2010. The LoS is a list of the unread books I have cluttering up my apartment, and is supposed to shame me into curbing my book buying addiction. It's hard to say how successful it is (it's kind of like trying to hold back the tide with a colander), but it probably does make me at least think twice before buying yet another book. This is already out of date, but let's ignore that. As of January (how did it get to be March, anyway?), I had 81 unread books. That sounds pretty bad, but it's actually not so very horrible for me. It's only about 20 more than I had at the start of 2008.

Big List of Shame 2010 )
amari_z: (addict)
Yes, I know it’s March! After being oppressed at work for the last month, here is the much belated 2009 in books.

2009 in Books )
amari_z: (reading)
Because it's the only hope (however benighted) of keeping me in check, here's my Big List of Shame for 2009. The BLoS is a list of all of the books I've acquired in the last few years that I haven't yet read (in theory anyway--I'm sure some have escaped listing). I seem to have developed a tradition of resetting it at the beginning of each year.

As of the date of this post, the BLoS stands at 39 books of fiction, 58 non-fiction (or 57--one is down). I eroded a lot of my progress in 2008 by going on a recent, huge book buying binge (I think I had 62 or so left on the 2008 list). If one were inclined, one might talk about a fear of success or self-sabotage; I do get anxious if there aren't piles of unread books collapsing in my living room.

We'll see how frightening this looks in another year (can you believe that'll be 2010?).

2009 Big List of Shame )
amari_z: (addict)
Rather to my own amazement, I managed to read 101 books in 2008 (not including “trash” books—damn you, kindle!). This means that I made it more than half way through my Big List of Shame, which stands at 163 books, eighty-three of which, according to the BLoS, I bought this year.*

I read sixty-seven works of fiction and thirty-four of nonfiction. This is bad only when you consider that despite the 2:1 ratio in reading, I have a nearly 1:1 ratio on my BLoS. I did the best in summer—no surprise there, since I tend to develop insomniac tendencies in hot weather. My worst month was April, followed by December. In April, it took me a long time to read Gate of the Sun. In December, I think it was all the trash novels and general laziness.

Although I enjoyed most of the books I read, and I generally dislike picking favorites, here are ten rather randomly chosen highlights:

1. Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End. I’m in love with this book. It’s the only narrative I’ve ever read that successfully managed a second person plural pov. And it’s funny and spot on about office life.

2. Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide. One of my favorite authors, and I think this is my favorite book of his to date (I haven’t read his new one yet). If for no other reason, read it for the setting, the Sundarbans, the ever-changing Ganges tidal delta, inhabited by tigers, crocodiles and, perhaps, the rare river dolphin.

3. Peter Godwin, Mukiwa and When a Crocodile Eats the Sun. There are a lot of areas of the world about which I feel my knowledge is sadly lacking, and the entire continent of Africa is one of them. These two books are memoirs of a white boy growing up in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, the end of white rule and what followed. Well written, troubling, and topical if you’re following today’s news.

4. Elias Khoury, Gate of the Sun. I already discussed a bit about this one.

5. David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas. I don’t know why it took me so long to read this. Six connected stories spread across time, set up like concentric rings. Brilliant.

6. Tahir Shah, The Caliph's House. I bought this one up on a whim and have no regrets. A British writer of partial Afghani parentage makes a sudden decision to pick up and move his family to Morocco.

7. Jonathan Shay, Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character. If you like the Iliad and are interested in the psychology of war, run to read this book.

8. Raja Shehadeh, Palestinian Walks. See here.

9. M. G. Vassanji, The In-Between World of Vikram Lall. I had never heard of this Canadian author, which is one of the reasons I’m selecting this book for mention. Story of how the main character, of Indian ancestry but born to immigrant parents in Kenya, comes to be one of the most notoriously corrupt men in a country notorious for corruption.

10. Evelyn Waugh, Black Mischief. I read a lot of Waugh this year. It was hard to pick between this one and Put Out More Flags, but I think this one wins for me by a narrow margin. Read both.

Complete List of 2008 books )

* This is rather a cheat. I bought *ahem* quite a few books toward the end of this year that I haven’t added to my list (some of them haven’t arrived). Coming soon: 2009 Big List of Shame.
amari_z: (Lunatic)
A couple months ago I got a Kindle for my birthday. This should be a cause for glee and rejoicing (and it was), but somehow I've also managed to make it into a metaphysical-type quandary. Perhaps I’m just special that way.

Cut for blabbing (now with footnotes!) )
amari_z: (egg)
If you've friended this journal, you might want to read the third paragraph if nothing else.

I’ve been pretty much AWOL lately, and haven’t been spending much time online at all. (So, if there’s something anyone wants me to know, please tell me/post a link in the comments, because I haven’t been keeping up.)

I’m still working on the next part of Resurrection (a/k/a teh crack). I was hoping to finish it by the end of the year, but it’s going slooowly and I don’t seem to have much time/energy for it, so that seems unlikely--although I‘m going to try to have at least a draft done (provided work doesn‘t decide to explode in my face). I’m up to about 20 pages, although they need severe rewriting. There are a bunch of things in this chapter that I’ve been building toward for ages, so hopefully when it’s done, it’ll be somewhat exciting. It’s funny--I think I originally figured I’d get to these plot points in something like the sixth part. Ha! I actually remember sitting in an airport awaiting my connection on my way back from Austria, o so many moons ago (after I had been prodded into making this a series and realized I probably couldn‘t just get away with making bad jokes), and coming up with these vague plotty things. (I think I was smirking to myself because people in the waiting area gave me a couple odd looks. Or maybe that was because they were just worried I was a terrorist.) Anyway, this just means that in addition to the usual agonizing I do when writing this stuff, there’s no pressure or anything.

Also, I haven’t been paying attention to the friending thing for a while. I think a couple people have friended me. If you’re one of them, and you want me to friend you back, you can post something here. If you want to be added to my personal filter (mostly me venting my rage about work and other stupidities, but not even that lately), let me know, but I tend not to do that unless you have an active journal. And at some point when I get around to it, I am going to prune my filters, which are kind of a mess. This means that if you’ve haven’t commented much but are currently friended and included in the filter, I might defilter you on the assumption that you’re here for the fic (when I post any), which is all public. So, if you’re the quiet type, but don’t want to be defiltered, I’m afraid this is your chance to speak up. If you you aren't sure whether you're filtered and/or likely to be defiltered and care one way or the other, feel free to ask.

Ok, complete random change of topic: in one of the last posts I managed to make, the one after September 11, I quoted from a book by Rashid Khalidi, who is Middle Eastern scholar of moderate bent. I just recently saw this. You know, I do find it infuriating that even the hint of being critical of Israel in this country is enough to brand you as evil. I find this comment, made by a student, telling: "'It should have been like, yes, I know him, and I’d like to know more Middle East experts, because that’s an important thing when you’re making policies.’” How the hell are you ever going to begin to address the situation unless you can acknowledge the positions of both sides? It’s absolutely essential as a starting point--unless, of course, your ultimate policy is actually genocide.

And so what if Mr. Khalidi had babysat Obama’s kids? What’s wrong with the concept? The Colin Powell line seems to be the one to take here, not a simple denial. (And, to my mind, whatever else he’s done that I despise, Powell has completely redeemed himself in my eyes. He’s the only major political figure I’ve heard who’s made the point that I’ve felt like screaming since this whole Obama-is-a-Muslim stuff began.)

And also, btw, if anyone is interested in reading something from the non-Israeli perspective, I just finished Palestinian Walks, which is beautiful book about the landscape of Palestine and the change that Israel’s policies have wrought. It gives some sense of what it means to live in the occupied West Bank. I also read Let It Be Morning, a novel set in a Palestinian village in Israel just before the Oslo Accords were signed. Both are recommended.

And speaking of books, I’ haven’t bought a book in at least a month (I think). That’s pretty scary (and has nothing to do with the frightening state of the economy, since I‘ll forgo food before reading material). Consider it my contribution to the Halloween thing, since I worked late yesterday, did not dress up, ate no candy, gave no candy away, and played no tricks. I’m determined to make a good dent in my Big List of Shame. I’m actually down to under 20 books on my fiction list (we won’t mention the nonfiction). This, if you know anything about me, is pretty much unprecedented.
amari_z: (addict)
I’ve been very, very bad with the book-buying thing. I will happily blame New York’s “Amazon law,” which recently required online retailers with New York affiliates to start charging New York sales tax. Its legality is questionable, but in the meantime it provided an excuse for me to buy a whole bunch of books at five minutes to midnight the day before it went into effect. My 2008 Big List of Shame is now updated (mostly, I think), and it is more shameful than ever. But I have been crossing things off as well (if at a much slower rate), and I’ve read some great stuff.

I don’t think I’ve done any of my periodic mini-book reviews so far this year, but that seems rather daunting at this point. Instead, I’m going to do something different, and quote a few lines from some of my recent reads. If anyone’s interest is piqued, feel free to ask for more information.

Books, Books, Books!!! )
amari_z: (addict)
This (with a few judicious alterations) could be me in about 25 years (if I’m not killed before then by a collapsing shelf). Not sure whether to laugh or cry.

Books are much more than container vessels for ideas. They are very nearly living things, or at least are more than the sum of their parts.
amari_z: (calvin)
Perhaps a real updatey type post later, but now I’m waiting for something at work, and so have decided this is a lull and I will update my Big List of Shame. It’s a little sad to delete all the books I've read, since they show progress amidst the madness (I had reached equilibrium between the read and unread tally at the end of the year). But a new year seems like a good time to clean it up, and I've gone on a mini buying spree recently--and I'm eyeing more. (Stop that!) I don’t think I’ve even added everything I purchased. ^^; Perhaps the sheer numbers here will have some impact on me, considering I have a few more books on this list than the total number of books I remember reading last year.

Big List of Shame 2008 )
amari_z: (worst thing about new books)
This is probably of little interest to anyone but me and my ongoing futile attempts to keep myself from buying a gazillion books, but here's a list of books I read this year. It is both somewhat impressive to me given my schedule, and yet also depressing given my grandiose appetites.

It's what I can figure out (did I really read nothing in January and February?), including some of the less than literary stuff that I don't usually bother to include in my shame lists (and most of which I've probably forgotten anyway). Except for some at the end, I think I've mentioned most of these somewhere in my journal, but if anyone wants commentary or recs, feel free to ask.

What I read in 2007 )

Book meme

Dec. 24th, 2007 10:37 am
amari_z: (monchrome flowers)
Book meme I couldn’t resist from [livejournal.com profile] darklyscarlett.

How many of your books do you part with after reading (other than books that were dreadful)?

Almost none. I’m a hoarder, and see below about my formative habits on rereading. I once sold a bunch of books to a used bookstore when my parents were moving out of my childhood home, and even through the books I parted with were all rather bad, I’ve never quite gotten over it. I’m pretty picky these days about what I buy, though. If I do buy a (rare) trash novel of some kind, and it does turn out to be truly dreadful, I might get rid of that. I will give away multiple copies, but I don’t end up with too many of those. I'm always happy to lend books though, but too often I end up regretting it.

What makes you keep or discard a book?

See above. I can't remember where, but didn't someone once compare the shelving of books once read to the mounting of animal head trophies? I don't see that myself. Each read book becomes a little part of myself, even if it's less than a masterpiece, and I’d at least like to have the chance no revisit it if the fancy strikes.

Do you ever purge your shelves? Does that only happen when you move to another country?

See above. Even if I move across the world, I’d either find a way to take my books with me, or store them.

Is there anything weird about having a large-ish personal library?

Personally I think it’s more weird not to.

Do you re-read the books you have? Often?

I used to be an unrepentant, multi-time re-reader of any book I liked. It was not uncommon for me to finish a book and flip to the beginning and start again (although this was often a result of my habit of starting a book at a random place in the middle). These days, I’m more linear in my reading and I don’t have time to reread, but, if my time freed up, I’d no doubt return to my old ways--at least the rereading part. I do still occasionally pick up old favorites and reread them, but not as often as I’d like.

Is it freakish and self-indulgent to have entire rooms shelved with tasty, tasty text?

Is it freakish and indulgent to eat? Actually given a choice between food and books . . . .

Do you head straight for the shelves when you visit someone's house for the first time, to find out who they really are? And are you slightly alarmed when you find yourself in a bookless house?

Yes and yes. ;) Although I know a lot of quite nice people who are not big readers, so I try not to get too freaked out by book-less living arrangements.

What's the rough balance of your library in terms of genres or other splits?

The majority is fiction, but it depends on what you mean by library. If you mean what’s in my apartment, I’d guess around 30-40 percent nonfiction, mostly history. I also have my old books stored at my parent’s house, and those are almost entirely fiction.

Any strange clusters?

Not sure what’s meant by strange. I have a space problem, so books are often arranged more by what fits where than any kind of logical scheme. I do have a lot of magna, but it’s mostly packed away. When I was young(er), I read a lot of fantasy, but not much anymore, and most of that is at my parents‘ house. I have a lot of history books. I also have a number of old childhood favorites, purchased in fits of nostalgia.

How many books would you say you are usually reading at any given time?

For pleasure, I try to read only one at a time. I have a problem getting back to books that I put down and a bad memory.

Has the internet significantly cut into your reading of printed text?

Probably. There’s more reading material available to vie for my time, and I‘m a bit of a news addict.

Do you also have yards of music or films?

I have a lot of dvds and quite a lot of cds. The cds are mostly from my school years. Nowadays, when I do buy cds, I tend not to keep them. I pass them on to my sister once I get them on my computer--it’s the space issue. I probably have more tv series collections than films; I have as grandiose illusions of my ability to watch stuff as I do read stuff.
amari_z: (worst thing about new books)
Because of the having to wake up early thing and not being able to get back to sleep and yet not wanting to do anything particularly active, I seem to have read a lot recently. With one or two exceptions, it was all history all the time. The good news is that I've continued to be (fairly) restrained in the new book buying (except curse you, Oxford University Press and your seasonal sales), and because my latest acquisitions haven't yet arrived, my ratio on my Big List of Shame is now about 1:1 of books read to unread. Just don't ask me how many books that actually translates to. (And I think the pressure on the dam is at the breaking point--any day now I'm going to break down and end up ordering 20 books from Amazon.)

John Kelly, The Great Mortality. It seems somewhat wrong to call a book about the bubonic plague "lively" but there you go. A well-written account of a devastating moment in human history.

Alexandra Fuller, Don't let's Go to the Dogs Tonight. Fuller, whose parents left England to take up farming in Africa, grew up white in Africa during the Rhodesian civil war. Vividly drawn portrait of her eccentric family, the African landscape and racism through a child's eyes.

Laurence Bergreen, Over the Edge of the World. Bought this on a whim when I was visiting my parents. The writing irritated me at times and some of the overblown narrative devices tempted me to throw the book against the wall; it is very much written in the "popular" history vein, but the story of Magellan's trip around the world can barely be made uninteresting.

Chinua Achebe, Arrow of God. A sort of sequel to the more famous Things Fall Apart, set in the same fictional Nigerian village about a generation later. The clash of a native priest of the traditional religion with Christianity and the colonial authorities. I think I liked this even more than Things Fall Apart.

I've been acquiring various books in the Modern Library Chronicles series, which are short histories on various topics, supposedly written by top scholars in each field. I am nothing if not a history dilettante, so the idea behind this series appeals to me. It also doesn't hurt that the books are bound in fabric and feel wonderful in the hand, reminding me of the books I used to check out from library as a kid. The books themselves are of varying success. I read my way through a few more of them.

  • Frank Kermode, The Age of Shakespeare. Not the best one. I would have liked more history of the time period and the theater, less speculation and less (necessarily superficial by reason of space) discussion of the plays.

  • A.N. Wilson, London: A History. I was actually bored and had to force myself to finish. Perhaps the topic was too big and focus too broad. Perhaps the writing wasn't that interesting. I skimmed parts of this because it wasn't holding my attention.

  • Richard Bessel, Nazism and War. This was quite good. Well written and succinct without feeling light weight. The chapter on German attitudes after the war was particularly interesting.

  • Michael Sturmer, The German Empire. I also liked this, although I probably should have read it before Nazism, since it deals with Germany from the founding of Empire after the Franco-Prussian War through the end of WWI and the founding of the Weimar Republic. (But I always was the kid that flipped to the end of a book first.) I was reminded once more of how little I know about Eastern European history.

  • Continuing on what appears to be a trend, Ian Burma, Inventing Japan. Excellently written short political history of Japan from the arrival of Perry through about 2000, which focuses on Japan's interactions with foreign powers and how the Japanese state developed from a feudal shogunate into the country that we know from WWII, and then the aftermath leading to the modern country.

  • Peter Green, The Hellenistic Age. I actually read this after Cartledge (see below), so for once I followed chronological order. Since the Hellenistic kingdoms were pretty much ignored in my formal education, Green’s Alexander to Actium is another book I’ve always meant to read, but at nearly 1,000 pages, it’ll be a while till I get around to it. This seemed a good compromise. Green is one of the better academic writers, but the book was simply too short for its subject to be truly absorbing. But the dynastic, power-mad machinations of Alexander’s Successors and their heirs are never boring, with the unstinting mix of war, incest, grandosity and murder. (The closer the blood tie, the more enthusiastic they were to kill each other.) Green takes a bleak view of the time period, and it all ends with the increasingly enfeebled the Greek world subdued by the rising power of Rome.

I still have a bunch of the Modern Chronicle books left, but I'll get back to them some other time. Yeah.

Karen Armstrong, A Short History of Myth. Basically an essay on mythology. It was fairly interesting but lacked any depth and seemed shallow. I wasn't bored reading it, but it was rather disappointing.

Richard Fletcher, The Cross and Crescent. Well-written, readable short study on the early interactions between Islam and Christianity. Fletcher writes with what should not be remarkable even-handedness and lack of political agenda, but given that the book was published in 2002, it is sadly worthy of remark. This was a topic I studied in undergrad, so the book was of particular interest to me. Recommended.

George Mosse, Fallen Soldiers. I was bored with this one, I'm afraid. I'm not sure if it was because I was particularly tired when I read it, but I think not. The premise is interesting--the study of the cult of the war dead that arose from WWI, which the author argues was instrumental in leading to WWII--but it did not particularly hold my attention through its analysis.

Louise Levathes, When China Ruled the Sea. I've always meant to learn more about China's treasure fleet, and so picked up this book some time ago. A fascinating account of China's naval adventures during the Tang dynasty, when a massive Chinese fleet made expeditions to India, Arabia and down the eastern coast of Africa. The Chinese fleet was more technologically advanced than ships produced by Western Europe until about the 19th century. Interesting to think of what the world might be like if the Chinese had not completely abandoned their overseas explorations and trade routes just as Europe was gearing up for the Age of Discovery.

Susan Whitfield, Life Along the Silk Road. I seem to be reading in themes. This was an interesting experiment melding together history and fiction. Whitfield uses historical records and tells tales of various figures who lived or traveled along the Silk Road between the mid-8th to the 11th century, focusing on the eastern side. She fills in fictional details to make narratives out of the lives of the characters--some (all?) of whom are real historical personages. The narrative technique is not always successful and the voice of the tales sometimes wavers and is inconsistent, but the tales (each given a name reminiscent of Chaucer--i.e., The Soldier's Take, The Merchant's Tale, The Courtesan's Tale) are interesting enough to over look that. And the historical time period is an intriguing one. It would have been more balanced if she'd dealt a bit more with the west and the Arabs, but, as she states up front, her expertise (her focus is Dunhuang) doesn't extend to that area.

Barbara Ehrenreich, Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream. This time, Ehrenreich turns her attention to the middle class. Nothing new, but an incredibly depressing account of Ehrenreich going under cover as a middle-aged professional trying to get a white collar job in corporate America. Despite about nine months of effort, which includes career coaches, seminars, networking events, job fairs, image consultants and more (all increasingly surreal), she fails to get a single legitimate offer.

Paul Cartledge, Alexander the Great. Not a straight biography of Alexander and probably not recommended for someone who doesn't already know the very basics of Alexander's life, since Cartledge doesn't always spend time giving the details of the incidents he discusses. The book is written thematically rather than chronologically, although the themes roughly follow the chronology (i.e., the chapter Alexander and the Macedonians comes before Alexander and the Greeks which comes before Alexander and the Persians). However, very readable, if a little light weight, and the jumping around was more successfully done than in his The Spartans, probably because the scope of the book is much more focused.

R.K. Narayan, Malgudi Days. Yes, fiction! These are wonderful short stories, which I savored at a pace of one a day or so for most of the month. I've always meant to read Narayan, and have finally have gotten around to it. The stories, set in Narayan's imaginary southern Indian town of Malgudi, are deceptively simple and full of gentle humor and compassion. Each is a small gem.


Since I've now gone back to my slovenly ways, reading pace will no doubt be returning to normal.

Book post

Aug. 31st, 2007 01:56 pm
amari_z: (simpsons)
Even though I'm engaging in reckless procrastination, I think I'm still far too lazy right now to actually talk much about the books I've been reading. So only a few words about them this time. But how about this: Anyone want to know anything more about them? Just ask.

Donald Kagan, The Peloponnesian War. An excellent history, fascinating and lucidly written. I need to reread Thucydides.

Keith Donohue, The Stolen Child. An imaginative take on the myth of the changeling. I enjoyed it, but for me, it did drag at parts.

Evelyn Waugh, Men at Arms. It’s Waugh, what else to say? I still have to read the next two books in the trilogy.

Ha Jin, Ocean of Words. One of my favorite authors. This is a collection of short stories about the Chinese soldiers stationed on the Russian border in the 1970s.

Philip Caputo, A Rumor of War. Caputo’s service in Vietnam--probably one of the best war memoirs I've read, and, sadly, all too relevant today. If I was the grand vizier of the world, I'd make this required reading.

Kenzaburo Oe, Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids It’s been sitting on my shelf so long I forgot I hadn’t read it. Oe’s—winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature—first novel. It tells of a group of Japanese reform school boys who relocated to the countryside during WWII, but reads like myth or allegory.

Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried. More about memory and storytelling than about war. I liked the rhythm of it.

Charles C. Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus. Loved it. I like following archeological news, so nothing entirely unexpected, but a lot of the detail was new and it was fascinating to see it all compiled in one place. Mann, a journalist, synthesizes recent (and some not so recent) findings about peoples living in the Western Hemisphere before Columbus.

Hmm. Although I think I was selecting fairly randomly, but I seem to have read a lot of books relating to war.

Book Post

Jul. 30th, 2007 09:28 pm
amari_z: (reading)
I realized this weekend that I never posted this. I think it’s about two months old, although I haven’t actually read all that much in the mean time, between reading Donald Kagan’s 500-page The Peloponnesian War (excellent, by the way) and rereading old and reading new Harry Potter.

What I was reading in May and June. )

And, since my last list of shame post, I’ve been GOOD. I think the only book I’ve bought was the new Harry Potter. Go me!
amari_z: (worst thing about new books)
Lj and I have only been nodding acquaintances recently, but I compiled this a while ago, yet didn't posted it because it scares me—as it should. There have been three apparently irresistible sales at internet sites I frequent, and I'm afraid I have no will power—and the busier I am at work, the less restraint I have. I've also combined my two previous lists, which go back to late 2005. As per previous practice, "candy" books not included, and this doesn't include books I've read that I acquired pre-shame list. But we won’t talk about the ratio of book read to books bought.

Big List of Shame )

Okay, no more book buying. I’m so serious.
amari_z: (scully)
I grew up reading a lot of adventure stories, fairy tales and myths, and I was one of those girls who generally identified far more with the male characters than female--because, really, it was the male characters who got to do the fun things. March is Women's History Month, and so here is my random list of fictional females that I grew up loving. Not history you say? Ah, but it's my history, and I am female, ergo . . . .

Okay, some disclaimers/explanations: It's not meant to be any kind of feminist empowerment theory list, but is strictly based on my own personal quirks and exposures. And it's by no means complete, since, well, I'm just forgetful that way. I'm also not including any contemporary works (which is probably far, far richer territory), but stuff that I saw/read in my more formative years--for the most part. In no partiular order:

The list )

Mmm. Sadly, that was a lot harder than I thought, and I'm rather hoping I'm just being really forgetful.

So who are yours?

A little more on point, coming soon (maybe): Historical Women Made of Awesome.
amari_z: (monchrome flowers)
Part of my ongoing attempt not to work at work. I’ve been writing this post for what feels like months and it keeps growing. No attempt at profound analysis here, I just like to keep track of what I’ve been reading and watching.

Movies

Flags of our Fathers and Stranger than Fiction )

Books

Inheritance of Loss, The Places in Between, Icarus Girl, and others )

Television

I don’t normally watch a lot of television, but with the use of DVR, I’m either watching more, or at least I’m watching things I’m deliberately choosing. I’ve started watching Ugly Betty, which I love so far, although I’ve only seen a few episodes (and if anyone watches this show—what is deal with the woman who everyone thinks is dead but has her face wrapped in bandages??). I’ve also watched a few episodes of Brothers and Sisters, which I wouldn’t have thought would appeal to me, but which I’m liking in an emo-porn kind of way.

I'm also still watching Heroes, which I'm loving even more, as well as BSG, with which I have a love-hate relationship. It's rather like a bad child--so much potential, can't help but love it, but all too often a train wreck.

amari_z: (yellow trees)
I finished reading Murakami's Kafka on the Shore. As usual with Murakami's novels, ending the book felt a bit like waking from a dream (and with this particular book, that idea becomes even more interesting). What seemed perfectly believable in the book is revealed as being strange and rather incomprehensible when the book is closed.

Although, I'll admit, as much as I did love it, I felt a small bit of let down at the end--in someways I felt that Murakami had spun up all these balls into the air and then wasn't quite sure what to do with them, especially in the Kafka part of the narrative (the chapters are split between first person narration of the 15-year-old Kafka and the story of the elderly Nakata (who can talk to cats)). But, mainly, I enjoyed visiting Murakami's slightly altered reality and the afterimages I'm left with.

Next I really am finally going to read Amalgamation Polka, which [livejournal.com profile] darklyscarlett was kind enough to give me.

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