2020 books catch up part 2

It’s happened again. I read a bunch of books and didn’t write anything about them. So here we go! What have I been reading lately?

Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo

This was a short, intense read about a man returning to the town of his birth to find his father. Though also, it is way more than that. The story is packed full of ghosts and visions, and swaps in pov and is written in a very fluid way that was at first confusing to read. But eventually I got into the flow, and let go of the need to know who was thinking or seeing what, and just went along with the experience. It ended up being a very vivid and powerful story, one that I will probably have to read again for full effect and understanding.

Fellowship of the Ring

I’d read this before as a teen, but remembered almost nothing of it. The main thing that stuck out to me was how charming and silly it was for the most part. The hobbits are so useless as adventurers that it makes you really like them. There are also so many songs that are quite enjoyable to read, and the scenes with Tom Bombadil and Goldberry were by far my favorite. It’s too bad they were cut out of the movies, probably because everything needed to be dramatic and ‘gritty’ in hollywood in those days. For about the last third of the book I did get quite bored with it, because it was all about action and I already knew what happened. Otherwise, a decent read.

The Green Child by Herbert Read

A strange and evocative read. It opens with a literal green child walking out of the moors into a small village in England, and the villages reaction to this strange occurance. Then we switch over to the story of some Jacobin revolutionaries in Buenos Aires, and end with an out of this world utopia description. A wild read, and one that had me glued to the page. Hard to categorize, but easy and thrilling to read. A definite recommendation for all philosophers.

The Price of Salt by Claire Morgan (Patricia Highsmith)

The story of a young woman who is completely struck by, and instantly enamoured with an older woman who walks into her shop. The two circle around each other, unable to avoid their attraction, despite the push and pull of other things in their lives. This is one of the most perfect description of young, helpless love that I’ve ever read. It perfectly captures the confusion, desperation, and intensity of an infatuation that won’t quit. If you didn’t know the author, you probably wouldn’t believe this book was written in the 40s. For its time, it was a one of a kind. All other lesbian fiction of the era ended invariably with the characters either going straight, or killing themselves. I loved that this one hinted at both of those options toward the end, but then went its own way. Highly recommended.

The Happy Prince and Other Tales by Oscar Wilde

If you want stories with a moral that aren’t preachy or groan inducing, then these are for you. These are written in the form of children’s tales but were very enjoyable and enlightening to me as an adult. I would read these to kids if I had any.

One, None, and a Hundred Thousand by Luigi Pirandello

The seemingly innocuous realization that others see him differently than he sees himself causes the character Moscarda to slowly lose his mind. How can communication be possible if the person you speak to hears your words coming from a completely other person that they have invented for you? How can anyone truly be themselves, or anyone at all, when we are a different person through every set of eyes that see us? These, and other thoughts, slowly wear away at Moscarda’s personality until he has no idea who he is, and sets out to extreme actions to prove to everyone that he is not how they see him. An interesting and a bit unsettling read.

Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things by Lafcadio Hearn

A collection of Japanese folk tales, followed by a few essays on insects. This is a weird little collection and extremely entertaining. A window into the myths, ideas and culture of Japan.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

How have I gone my whole life without reading this hilarious play? One I’ll probably read again, and would love to see live. Somehow I never expected this title would be a pun. A quick, fun read that everyone should enjoy.

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