Friday, November 17, 2017

Une rencontre

Une rencontre, Milan Kundera

I always get tricked on third airport books.

I got tricked on Marguerite Yourcenar's third airport book.

I got tricked on Jean-Paul Sartre's third airport book.

And now I got tricked on Milan Kundera's third airport book.

An airport book is a book I buy at the airport, to read on the plane. I read two awesome books by Marguerite Yourcenar before I bought Souvenirs Pieux at the airport, drooling, and then it turned out it was her autobiography.

I never realized I hated autobiography.

Then I read two awesome books by Sartre (really one), before I bought Les mots at the airport,
drooling, before I realized it was his autobiography.

This time, I realized I hated autobiography.

Finally, I read two awesome books by Milan Kundera before I bought Une rencontre at the airport.
It's not an autobiography, but it's kind of an autobiography.

There's something funny about these autobiographies from great writers. They turn out to be—well it should be obvious—narcissistic, like they're welling in their words after a bit. But they start awesome.

Une rencontre's saving grace is that it has lots of munchy book recommendations in it. Only reason I forced myself through it.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Blue Murder

Blue Murder, Emma Jameson

The second in Emma Jameson's intriguing Lord and Lady Hetheridge murder mystery series. In an improbable setup—an English baron works as chief inspector for New Scotland Yard, and falls in love with a brilliant subordinate half his age—murder mysteries get resolved.

Yes. Mysteries get resolved. That's the good thing about murder mysteries: without any effort on your part, other than turning pages, you are presented with a mystery that gnaws at you for a while and then is given a perfect solution. Ending the gnawing.

I am a bit confused about the change books seem to be going through: where these works of very light reading appear in the same positions as books that require thought. When I say "positions," I mean the Kindle Bookstore.

The two types have two different uses. A review of one should not use the same criteria as a review of the other. I have to admit though that until recently I did not believe that books should be categorized into "light" vs. "heavy" reading.

I do now.

This is a light story, similar to Emma's previous instalment, but not as good. There are distracting elements such as the ponderous presence of the "nemesis" character who does not actually do anything: he is clearly introduced to benefit the series, not the story, but takes space nevertheless. And the relationship between the series-titular Lord and Lady continues to be—while attractive—arhythmic. Both too slow and too fast.

Setting up a murder mystery series with cops as the central characters is the perfect feeder for infinite content. But I feel it's a bit sloppily told and I keep getting bumped out of the book and into reality.

Ice Blue

Ice Blue, Emma Jameson

Pretty good, light murder-mystery, cops-in-love read. Better than most cheap books, if slightly awkward.

Don't pay more than two euros.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick

The idea is inspired, but not the execution.

You can tell it's written by a pro, a good writer. The imagination is subtle: you feel it is boundless, due to the little bits of fantasy you get in all domains, from jewelery to politics to language to food.
And yet it is moderate—what's the word for "correct dosage?:" that's how the imagination is used.

Unfortunately, the characters are dull, and the story is dull. Like Dick had this great idea but sat on it too long and forgot how he wanted to go about it, but did it anyway.

Prince Caspian

Prince Caspian, C. S. Lewis

I am disappointed that the children left Narnia.

The possibility has been opened that it's all in their imagination. This weakens the story, I find.

Apart from that, it's lovely.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Lost Horizon

Lost Horizon, James Hilton

I'll be.

There is tight skill in these 1930's wedge-wads.

Like Henry James: a story that neither begins nor ends, but whittles to its core.