The Handmaid’s Tale: a negative side of human adaptability

I finished this dystopian classic by Margaret Atwood and was both impressed and frustrated. I was impressed by how believable the story was. In the afterward the author talks about how she took great care to put nothing in the book that hadn't already happened somewhere in history, and no technology that didn't exist. She …

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Translating poetry: how can meaning be preserved?

I'm so enamored with Sebald that I got a book of his poetry, Across the Land and the Water (from the library, just in case it turns out I'm not a poetry kind of guy.) I've not read much of any poetry, by anyone,  but Sebald's writing is just so damn poetic anyway, I figured …

How to recover confidence…

Have you ever read something so good, so skillfully subtle and thoughtful and emotional and striking and shocking and beautiful, something that pulled at your mind and heart so softly and strongly that you wonder how it can possibly exist? That makes you wonder if it even does exist in this same, perfect way for …

Dead Souls: more shitty rich people

I read Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol recently, and found it quite agreeable, as the narrator would say. The story features an enigmatic land owner named Chichikov, who, at the beginning of the story is a stranger in town who everyone finds intriguing. He travels around to all the landowners in the area, and attempts …

Book catch-up #3 The Unparalleled Borges

I read Labyrinths, a collection of short stories by Jorge Luis Borges, and I can't overestimate how amazing these stories were. I could probably write a post about every story, but I'll stick to a few standouts. The Library of Babel: A library that contains not only every book ever written, but every possible arrangement …

Book catch up #2, good ol Nabokov

Whenever I've read something boring or confusing, or just plain bad, I read some Nabokov as my next, cause it's guaranteed to be good. This time I read Pnin, and as always, it was beautiful, funny, and just lovely. Pnin is a Russian living in America, and teaching Russian at a college. He is absent …

Book catch up #1, Hemingway, Hawingway

I've been reading a lot of books and not posting about them! So here's the first of some 'what I've been reading' catch up posts: The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway: I read For Whom the Bell Tolls a while back, and was underwhelmed, though parts of it did make me feel, and the end …