Thursday, March 22, 2012

some book reviews

everything was fine until whatever by chelsea martin
this is a collection of poems & short stories that crispin loaned me. this book was funny a lot but also sad a lot. i liked how there were sort of normal stories interspersed with quite odd things. what i mean is that there were sort of real introspective things about people and relationships then something sort of unpretentious and hilarious at the end of a paragraph maybe. maybe this was unintentional but it makes the stories seem warmer or something and like endearing. also there was good fine print. and the book has a good title so it seems like you are an interesting person if you read it on the train. 

follow me down by kio stark
did i already write about this here? this book was really nice. it was short but compelling about this girl who gets mailed an old photo in an envelope then she tries to find out who the person is in the picture. i think it was just really nice prose about a city really, all her attempts to find it, meeting people around her neighbourhood and in different parts of the city. the protagonist was also a redhaired babe who used that to her advantage to find out things and i sort of liked that she was unashamed of using her looks in that way, but unusually i didn't end up hating her because of this. 

instructions... etc by tim key
also loaned to me by crispin. this book was good to read at work because i could easily read a thing while waiting for somebody to pick up the phone and answer questions to me. it is real funny in an earnest way, like quite verbose but hilariously so. a good use of parentheses. one of my supervisors thumbed it at some point and seemed intrigued by it. i think it made me seem 'interesting' because actually yes a lot of the things in the book are weird instructions.  

wind up bird chronicle by murakami
the second haruki murakami book i have read. i liked a lot of it but towards the end i felt like i just wanted toru to stop meeting different people. i felt sometimes like the women in the books were too sexually available, or that's the way they were written which also bothered me. perhaps it was just masculine and i'm not used to that. i liked this thing that toru says about kumiko "I just want you to keep one thing in mind: anything of yours - anything at all, as long as it belongs to you, I will accept as my own. That is one thing you will never have to worry about". generally what i like about this book and the other murakami book i have read (sputnik sweetheart) is the way that really odd things seem to happen, like just going to sit in a well then somehow going into dream states that aren't really dreams or spending every day of the week just looking at people, then mysteriously meeting a wealthy benefactor, meeting women who can somehow heal other women of their pain - these things that 'seem strange' are written about not without curiosity but without surprise. i liked this, because it seems like the things we do in life like get up and go get a train somewhere, make eggs, do our jobs.. they are all done as routinely as you like. who's to say going to sit in the bottom of a well shouldn't be just as normal. i don't know, i'm not explaining that very well. but my overall sense was that peculiar things seemed to be more usual and i enjoyed that. perhaps it was the japanese sensibility of the book coming through. 

richard yates by tao lin
i didn't really like richard yates very much. i mean there were some things that i enjoyed at the start but increasingly i despaired at the way that haley joel osment treated dakota fanning who was clearly vulnerable and young and probably not obese. and i also didn't feel like haley was being reasonable towards the adults in the book but was portrayed as being a reasonable person. however crispin mentioned this good thing during a discussion of this book with some other people a month back, that it sort of showed how truly shitty things get between some people and how sometimes things are really truly fucked. or he said something better than that which i can't remember right now but maybe that was the gist of it. 

the sending by isobelle carmody
what can i say, this was the latest book in the obernewtyn series and i freaking loved it, but only because i'm a xxcore ten year fan of obernewtyn and even though it's quite a weird sort of series i'm going to keep reading it until it's finished. i had to leave my copy of this (along with richard yates) at my hostel in new york though because i needed to cut off some dead weight. 

the tiger's wife by téa obreht
got this for xmas. it was an interesting read. it seemed to sort of have echoes of things in murakami, but work in a similar way to 'everything is illuminated' actually, in the sense that there was a protag, then a sort of person who told stories, then a separate narrator of these things. it made me think more about stuff happening in the balkans and weird folklore. the murakami echo was this character who simply couldn't die just because he'd had an aunt who said 'you won't be able to die now' or something of that nature. it was a pretty good read actually and i thought it was written pretty beautifully. 

um next i am probably going to read 'there is no year' by blake butler but it is an unusually shaped book and hard to take on the train sort of. currently reading a bill bryson book though which keeps weirdly intersecting with my real life in an informative manner


  1. ( wish i could like these pages instead of commenting each time)
    i like this/i like reading about books

    1. hehe aw thanks. I will try to set it up so people can 'like' things instead, it's truly much easier. whereabouts in ldn are you staying?