The Luzhin Defense by Vladimir Nabokov

Another terrific read by Nabokov, I have yet to be disappointed by his novels. This one follows a chess player, but you don’t have to know a single thing about how to play chess in order to enjoy it. It’s more about the mental states, and how imagining all the possible outcomes in a game can send your brain down an unending maze of possibilities.

Aside from Nabokov’s usual wonderful prose and lovable characters, I found the slow, creeping insanity that Luzhin endures to be very believable and a bit unsettling. And even though I saw the end coming, that didn’t lessen the impact and effectiveness of it.

Another great read, and anyone who hasn’t read Nabokov please pick up one of his books, you won’t regret it!

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The Third Policeman, by Flann O’Brien

The end saved this one a bit for me. I really was not a fan of a lot of the middle, so much of it seemed disconnected from everything and meaningless and confusing, but maybe that was the point.

The end was really surreal and creepy and dark, but the kooky humor of the rest of the book sort of undercut the effect of it I think.

I feel there was probably some meaning I was missing in this one, as nothing seemed to have any connection to anything… a strange read, but not recommended unless it’s your brand of humor.

can’t write? edit!

I’ve been having some trouble creating lately… so I’ll delete instead! It’s been nearly a year since I reached the end of my novel, so it’s about time I started editing it.

So, I started… and I’m wondering if I’ve really improved that much in the past year, or if I was just blinded by creative juices while writing… because, there’s… so much to fix…

This will be a fun few months rewriting every other paragraph and deleting the endless procession of gerunds.

Wish me luck..

do i hate french authors?

I usually finish a book if I make it past the first chapter or so, but I just couldn’t do it for Madame Bovary.

Something about the way the story is told made it just impossible for me to pay attention or engage with the characters. The imagery and prose was really nice, which kept me hoping ‘maybe it will get going here’ for nearly half the book. But in the end I just kept zoning out so often I had to give up.

I think the problem for me is the story is told from such a ‘zoomed out’ point of view. I felt I was observing all the characters from afar, in a detached kind of way, like they were specimens in a terrarium, instead of living the story through their eyes. Every description of events or scenery surrounding the characters was described in a detached way, from the narrators view, instead of being described through the eyes of the character. It made it very hard to care about anything that was happening.

The last book I gave up on, last year, Swan’s Way by Marcel Proust, also a French classic. Do I hate French novels?

Who knows. I should have quit on it a long time ago though instead of wasting so much time with it.

Now I’ve started ‘As I lay Dying’ and am already feeling much more engaged and interested in what is going on.

Yay.

They are forming a sentence…

VLOG? (If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler)

That’s right, I’m reading (listening to) the strange, fourth wall breaking story by Italo Calvino… also, I’m recording myself talking about it?

Yes, I’m dipping my feet warily into the frozen, shark laden waters of YOUTUBE. Will strangers want to listen to me ramble in an unfocused, unplanned way about this odd novel? Well I’m going to find out.

I’ve already learned just from the first try that I’m much better at writing than speaking… this will be perhaps a good exercise in public communication!

Here are some thoughts on this novel so far. Recorded in my car, in a parking lot after I listened to a section of the audio book. You’ll see a few more of these, and they will likely start to contain spoilers, but this one doesn’t have any except the barest ones about the structure of the book itself. Okay, here you go:

What is the point of creating?

I’ve spent a bit of time the past few days wondering if anyone will ever want to read my stories, or enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them. Am I the only one who enjoys the sort of thing I want to write? Surely I can’t be… I’m not that special or unique or smart or dumb. There must be people out there who like similar things to what I write.

But what if there wasn’t? What if, somehow, the exact thing I enjoy reading and writing, was not popular with anyone… would I still write it?

Would I change my ‘style’ to please someone–anyone!–or, would I keep on trying to satisfy my own tastes and preferences.

You might ask: what’s the point of writing something no one wants to read?

But, what is the point of writing something that doesn’t say what you want it to?