What have I been reading? 2011 Edition!

Christmas brought me a bounty of reading material; much to my father’s chagrin. My Christmas presents were all fiction as well, as I have been trying to beat down my non-fiction bias lately. Here’s some of the books I’ve got through lately.

  • Dead Aid – Dambisa Moyo
  • Raising My Voice – Malalai  Joya
  • Voices of the Fire – Alan Moore
  • From Hell – Alan Moore
  • The Case of the Pope – Geoffrey Robertson QC
  • The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid – Bill Bryson
  • The Spy Who Came In From The Cold – John Le Carre
  • The Constant Gardener – John Le Carre
  • The Man In The High Castle – Philip K Dick
  • The Fox/The Captain’s Doll/The Ladybird – D H Lawrence
  • The Culture of Narcissism – Christopher Lasch
  • Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

And I have to whinge about something. What is it about critics and making careless mistakes? I finished John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ the other day and decided to have a look in ‘1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die’ to see what they had to say on the subject.

The author of this particular column (EF apparently) harped on about the symbolic death of the american dream and other hyperbolic fancies, before giving a short synopsis about the wrong characters. It was Candy who wanted to move in with George and Lennie, not Slim. IT WAS CANDY!

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2 Responses to What have I been reading? 2011 Edition!

  1. Roger Reed says:

    So what did you think of the Man in the High Castle? Dick is so extraordinarily uneven, and for me this was his one novel that is almost perfect, pulling off the biggest plot-twist ever, or more like an identity twist, wherein the book isn’t even about what it seems to be about. And I like that it transcends the sci-fi genre: it’s not *necessarily* science fiction. Anyway, I’d like to hear what you thought.

    • goldnsilver says:

      I felt conflicted about the Man In High Castle – I thought that his vision of an alternate reality was brilliant. I liked how he had the Germans carve off California and give it to the Japanese to placate them, I could certainly see that happening.

      I thought he nailed the reaction that the Japanese had to the situation – the absolute fetishism of the vanquished enemy and disparaging tone towards the ‘failures’ left over (the average postwar American citizen). I generally enjoyed the scenes between the antique salesman and the Japanese – especially the way his thoughts were becoming ‘Japanese’ in nature.

      However, although it was good technically, I can’t really warm to his style of writing. I would like to check out ‘Do Andriods Dream of Electric Sheep?’. Do you have any thoughts on this one? How do you mean that he is uneven?

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