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30 November 2012

November books and sickness


Well, this has been the slowest reading month of my adult life.  At the beginning of the month, I came down with a double ear infection and a sinus infection.  These infections were causing havoc with my vision.  Unfortunately, I decided to go to a ‘Minute Clinic’ instead of to my physician.  Bad choice.  I was given limited antibiotics, and the infections came back stronger than ever mid-month.  With a weakened immune system, I contracted pink eye in both eyes and a nasty cough.  It was time to go to the doctor, the real doctor.  I was informed that, in addition to the pink eye, the ear infections, and the raging sinus infection, I now had a pretty serious case of bronchitis.  I’ve been mostly homebound this last week, being looked after by my amazing wife and taking medications.  Finally, I feel like I am on the mend.  For a few weeks, I felt like I was on a circus ride and I just couldn’t get off.  Round and round I went.  All of this has me thinking that a.) I have the most amazing family who take such good care of me and b.) I am extremely fortunate to only be sick with a very treatable illness and to have such ready access to medical care.  This month was nothing more than a “first-world problem.”

And now to the books.  I finally began reading from my selections for the ‘Argentinean Literature of Doom’ reading challenge, which is hosted here (go to the site no matter what, because it is one of the best personal blogs on good literature around).  I will have full reviews (something this page has sorely lacked) of Ernesto Sabato’s The Tunnel and Roberto Bolaño’s Woes of the True Policeman in the next few days, health and energy permitting.  Here is the book list for November:

The Wisdom of Psychopaths  by  Kevin Dutton
Travels with Epicurus  by  Daniel Klein
Woes of the True Policeman  by  Roberto Bolaño
The Tunnel  by  Ernesto Sábato
Tierra del Fuego  by  Francisco Coloane

13 November 2012

Javier on his writing

A little clip for you here where Marías reads a few lines (from A Heart So White) and talks about his writing.

03 November 2012

Books read in October

Here are the books read this past month.  The end of the year is coming, and I'm toying with a 'Best Books of the Year' post with multiple authors giving short reviews.  More on that to come, and let me know if you would be interested in writing a few words on your favorite book this year.


The Book of Disquiet  by  Fernando Pessoa
The Man without Qualities (vol.1)  by  Robert Musil
Written Lives  by  Javier Marías
Requiem: a hallucination  by  Antonio Tabucchi
Chicken with Plums  by  Marjane Satrapi
The Good Cripple  by  Rodrigo Rey Rosa
Tales of Moonlight and Rain  by  Akinari Ueda
The Shallows: what the internet is doing to our brains  by  Nicholas Carr
Beach Birds  by  Severo Sarduy
The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira  by  Cesar Aira
If Walls Could Talk: an intimate history of the home  by  Lucy Worsley
The Blind Owl  by  Sadegh Hedayat

My first encounter with Hedayat will not be my last, as Blind Owl was a wonderful book.  The hallucinatory quality paired well with Tabucchi's amusing jaunt and meditation around Lisbon.  The biggest disappointment of the month comes from The Good Cripple, though I suspect much of that has to do with the translation.  While it is important to keep a slight taste of the foreign nature of the original in translation, retaining entire -albeit well known - Spanish phrases for no observable purpose seems ridiculous to me.   Why not use 'friend' instead of 'amigo?'  Why keep 'adios' for 'goodbye' or 'hola' for hello?  The liberal sprinkling of such tripe throughout saturated the work as a whole, making an interesting story come across as told by a Latino stereotype out of central casting.

Happy reading