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[personal profile] kitchen_kink
Going to actually try to really, truly keep track of this this time. Because dude, I'm curious. Now therefore, a list of books I read in 2011, with very brief reviews.

1. [Started in 2010] Refuge, by Terry Tempest Williams. Strange and beautiful.

2. The Bed of Procrustes, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. A book of aphorisms largely serving to prove what a cranky, egotistical douche Taleb is. Maybe. In reality, I still can't decide whether I hate it or not.

3. Faust, by Goethe (in progress) I stopped this, because the translation was silly. Anyone know of a really good one?

4. Delta of Venus, by Anais Nin. Wacky, sort of wonderful early-century erotica, no-holds-barred, so quite disturbing in places (underage homosexual prep school gang rape, anyone??). I'm tickled by her clear obsession with Freud.

5. Bloodsucking Fiends, A Love Story by Christopher Moore. Wonderfully silly, as he always is. Mildly offensive in places, in ways I've come to expect. Also, a few gorgeous places where his grasp of emotion and story really shines.

6. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson. I loved this book unreasonably. It feels to me like Stephenson here has finally gotten the hang of making his own geekery, which in other books can get tedious to some readers, be essential to the plot and characterization. Also, I cried and laughed a bunch, which really, is most of what makes me love a book.

7. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore. Yes, I'm having fun reading Moore these days. This edition is leatherbound in black with gold lettering and edging and a red ribbon bookmark, like a Bible. Awesome. I really loved this book, more than I expected to. It's a surprisingly respectful and heartbreaking retelling of the story of Christ, with a lot of laughs and a lot of those deep, emotionally resonant moments that Moore is so good at amidst the comedy.

8. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville. I've been meaning to read Mieville for a while now, since everybody's talking about him. I'm only a little way in and it's fascinating, but really, really dark and gross, like Chuck Palahniuk without the humor. Not sure I'll be willing to deal with it. [EDIT: Finished; review here.

9. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. I didn't necessarily expect to like this book, but was pleasantly surprised, especially by the section narrated by the monster, which is the book's heart. The rest of it is actually rather weak, especially on the character-development front, but the pacing and relentless horror of it is astonishing.

10. Babel-17, by Samuel R. Delaney. I absolutely loved this book; I was astonished to finally read a book by a sci-fi writer in the early '60s who could write women sensitively, deal with race complexly, be exquisitely aware of emotional communication and intuition, and know something deep about trauma. Of course, Delaney was a gay, black writer working in that world, so I can't imagine how his work couldn't be different from his contemporaries. A lovely little book; the story is only so-so, but the journey is worth it.

11. Story of O, by Pauline Reage

12. Healing Through the Dark Emotions, by Miriam Greenspan

13. Fool, by Christopher Moore

14. Fudoki, by Kij Johnson (in progress)

Date: 2011-01-18 08:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm naturally curious about your take on Refuge.

Date: 2011-01-18 09:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I found it rather hard to get into at first, but I persevered, and eventually found it intensely moving. Oddly, I was especially interested in the aspects of it that were about Mormonism. I had no idea that religion was so connected to the land. And her feminist grappling with her upbringing and culture was fascinating.

I also found myself deeply envying her relationships with members of her family.

But mostly I found the whole thing very beautiful, and I've found myself recommending it to people at strange moments.

So thank you. :)

Date: 2011-01-18 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Glad you liked it. I wondered while reading if the land connection was more about her personalization of faith rather than something inherent to the faith, if that makes sense. She wrote a book on the art of Heironymous Bosch that I want to read too and one that's apparently an almost erotic meditation on land. TOO MANY BOOKS!

Date: 2011-06-07 07:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I find it funny that, months later, I ask about your reading again. I *loved* Perdido Street Station. Have you finished it?

Date: 2011-06-07 03:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I haven't even gotten halfway through yet, but the thing happened that I expected, which is that I got into the groove of it and now I'm in love with it, and the gross stuff isn't bothering me anymore.

I do have one complaint, though, which is some of the names of things; it doesn't seem to me that humans (or these other races, for that matter) are much for naming places in ugly ways, even if they are ugly places. I have a hard time believing, for example, that city planners would on purpose name their two major rivers the Canker and the Tar. :)


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