Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Reading Oscar's 2018

I still live among books. My house and bedside are littered with half open books. Not a day passes without reading a dozen of pages. But something has changed. My purchasing of new books has virtually stopped. I do not find the time and envy anymore to write reviews. Most worrying of all, fiction can’t retain my attention as it did before. Of the 10 books of fiction I started this year, I have finished but two. The other 8 in the end did not manage to keep me interested.

Unfinished Fiction

And quiet flows the Don by Mikhail Sholokov ( Unfinished )
Half finished. Russian taiga exotism by the bucketfull but nowhere enough tension to keep me reading 

The fight for sergeant Grisja by Stephan Zweig ( Unfinished )
Some poor writing deceived me quite early in the book

A l’aveugle by Claudio Magris ( Unfinished )
Confusing. Must try again, Rick loves it

The famous bear invasion in Sicily by Dino Buzzati ( Unfinished )
I’ll try again when I have grand -children

Europe Central by William T Vollmann ( Unfinished )
Often interesting, clear authorial intentions but why soooooo long ?

The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle ( Unfinished )
Has aged badly

The sea, the sea by iris Murdoch ( Unfinished )
Finished for three quarters but had a bore out

The Walk by Robert Walser ( Unfinished )
it is about walking

Winner of the unfinished fiction : Europe Central

Finished Fiction

Voices after Evelyn by Rick Harsch

Top of the world by Hans Ruesch

Both books have kept my attention till the last sentence. Ruesch’s narration of a crime and a manhunt on the ice in Greenland is both funny and entertaining.

Rick’s book is as intriguing as the Evelyn case. Still owe you a review

Winner of the finished fiction : Voices after Evelyn

Best Poetry

Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock by TS Eliot

Best reread

The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa 

Brillant book. No problem to finish this one. A world bygone.

Non Fiction : No problems either to finish these books

My past and thoughts : Childhood, Youth and Exile by A.I. Gertsen 
Very nice recounting of the life of the rich in Russia in the early 19th century.
These are the stories that inspired Pushkin, Gogol and others to write their masterpieces
Lovely book

The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World
Scrotum tightening. Terrible reading for enlightened people.
There are lessons to learn here. Civilzation has to be guarded and defended ...every day.

The Oracle: The lost secrets and hidden message of Ancient Delphi by William J Broad
Good book ! My guide when I returned to Delphi and the Corcyrian cave.

A guide to the good life : The ancient Art of stoic joy by William B. Irvine
Forget Zen and Budhism. The Western world has his own solutions to survive existential angst
A hands-on guide.

Who we are and how we got there : the ancient DNA revolution and the new science of the human past ( Unfinished because very difficult )
Mind blowing. The science that will explain exactly who you are and where you came from. Maybe not what you want to hear

The Ink trade : Selected Journalism 1961-1993 by Anthony Burgess
The writings of Ol’ Burgess are so yummy that I even managed to write a review. 
The only one this year ! ( Except for Rick’s Trieste book )

A history of Opera :The last four hundred years by Caroline Abbate
Opera is as fascinating as literature. A book to dip in after every aria.

Winner : The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World