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 Train Was On Time, by Heinrich Böll

In another war novel by Böll that does not feature battle or action, a young soldier, Private Andreas, boards a train and is immediately overcome with the certainty that he will soon die. As the train rolls on, Andreas' certainty grows, and he even begins to narrow down exactly the time and place that he …

Austerlitz, by W.G. Sebald

Another stunning novel by Sebald, and this is the first of his to approach anything like a plot. As with all of Sebald's books, the themes are on memory, and the Holocaust. Of all his books I've read so far, this one most directly addresses the two. The narrator, who as usual is a maybe/maybe …

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 …

Invitation to a Beheading, by Vladimir Nabokov

I always come back to good ol' Vlad, and this one keeps up the pattern of being awesome in unexpected ways. This book tells the story of Cincinnatus C. , a 30 year old teacher convicted of 'gnostical turpitude' and his experiences waiting around in a cell for his own execution. What struck me most …

Just 400?

I got to 400 books read on my Goodreads account recently, and though I'm sure that's not every book I've ever read, it is not far off. What a low number! I've been reading 25+ years, and that's the number I've reached? I fee like I never have time to read these days, and in …

The inner workings

Having recently read some great sci-fi for the first time in a couple years, I have some thoughts. I think my perspective has changed after the past few years of reading pretty much only literary classics. Coming back to science fiction after that, everything feels so transparent. I'm not sure if it's me, or just …