Frost, by Thomas Bernhard

The opening paragraph of this novel is one of the best I've read, and is so humorous and sets the tone so well that I had to read the book. The narrator, a young medical intern, is given an unusual assignment to stay with, and observe his superior's brother, a reclusive painter named Strauch, and …

The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, by Yukio Mishima

In this beautiful and dark novel, we read about a young man's obsession with the famous Golden Temple in Kyoto, Japan. Mizoguchi, who is unpopular and ostracized for his stuttering, is introduced to the temple by his father, and eventually becomes an acolyte there. After seeing the temple every day, he becomes more and more …

The influence of Dostoevsky

I've been reading The Idiot, and the same as with Crime and Punishment, I am now seeing its influences on everything. I will share just one example, early in the novel. Prince Myshkin, the protagonist and titular 'idiot,' is a very open and guileless person, which leads many people who encounter him to doubt his …

700 year old emoji

I'm reading Purgatory by Dante, and came across this passage: The sockets of their eyes were gemless rings; one who reads omo in the face of men, could easily have recognized the m. My eyes widened a bit and I thought, that can't possibly mean what I think it means. But I checked the historical …

After Nature, by W.G. Sebald

I've never been able to 'get into' poetry before. Now I'm thinking I've just never been introduced to the good stuff, because this book has really grabbed me and made me want to seek out more like it. The book contains three prose poems, or rather, three parts. Part one is about the 16th century …

A book too good for me to handle? Some thoughts on impostor syndrome.

I recently (start of the year) had a bit of a crises of confidence, and I'm still not sure I've fully recovered. It was probably a combination of many things, but I think W.G. Sebald's books (Vertigo and The Emigrants) were a big factor. Not only because they are about memory and perception, but because …

To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

Can a book be a work of art? The answer is yes, and I've read it. The only way to read this novel is to do so the same way you might look at a painting. A painting captures a moment, a feeling, a tone, it brings thoughts to your mind and makes you wonder …