Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Blind Assassin - #1

I have a love-hate relationship with the Booker Prize. I love the idea of having a prize to reward and recommend the best of the best English language books of the year. And I love some of them, The Life of Pi for example. I hate it because it also rewards self-indulgent wank as literature, such as The Finkler Question. For me, The Blind Assassin falls more into the later category than the former.

I found the book slow to get into. Which would have been fine, if it was 200pp long instead of pushing 600pp. When it is such a brick, it makes you wonder if you will ever see the end of the damn thing. It was disjointed to begin with I felt, with me trying for the life of me to work out why I was reading about lizard men from outer space. Slowly, ever so fricking slowly, you start to work out what is happening and how the lizard men or the people sacrificing virgins fit in. Finally you want to know what happened to the Blind Assassin much more than the trendily unlikable characters in the “real world”.

Oh don't get me wrong, I felt sympathy for Iris. I liked to some extent Laura. Agreed with Reenie. And cared slightly for Alex even though he was a dick in his own way as well. And it was because of this I finished it. But if I am honest, mainly as I saw the “twist” about 300pp in and then wanted the smug satisfaction of knowing I was right. Which may confirm that I am in my own way as self-indulgent as the Booker winners I hate. Bugger.

So in the end:

Next: The Inheritance of Loss  - Darjeeling, India.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Around the World in 52 Books

I stumbled across this Goodreads group late last year - A 2012 Challenge Around the World in 52 Books - and I thought it was a brilliant idea. As most things do, especially in my life these days, that's as far as it went. But I rediscovered the idea again the other day and decided to pull my finger out and get on with it.

I worked out last year with the Novel Challenge that I am much more diligent with my reading if I have a goal, so this seemed like a good one with the end result of me reading a lot of different things for different, exotic places that I wouldn't otherwise. However, I have modified the rules to make them more "me" friendly.

The Rules
1. Choose 52 books.
2. Each book has to be from a different country, with a spread of books from around the globe.
3. Only one book per author.
4. The place the book is set in, is usually the country it is from. Two exceptions to this rule are: i) I already own the book and I need to choose the Author's place of birth to make it fit the system. Thus reading some of the books on my shelves before buying more books (and therefore achieving some semblance of domestic harmony in our house). ii) It is a sci-fi book in a different setting so authors place of birth is chosen, as long as there is a cultural link too.
5. While the Goodreads group is aiming to read one book per week, I realise that I am usually far too busy/lazy to make that happen. This goes on as long as needed to get through the 52 books.

See my List on the other page. I will edit that as books change or as I complete them.

So with that all in mind, I am starting this all with the book I am currently reading, which is The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood and is based in Canada. This book is a brick and is one of the reasons I started this. To motivate me to finish it.

So on with the journey!