Of death, and monsters, and swans and swimming
You know what my blog smells of? Neglect. I really have no explanations for it except for laziness. Just your everyday, average genral lack of drive to write down anything substantial about the stuff I've read. Even my reading has suffered, I mean quantity wise, if you compare it to last year. But who cares? No one! Okay, maybe I do care, a little bit. I wouldn't be writing this down if I didn't. But still, I am as chill as the cold breeze blowing outside today. Actually a typhoon is about to hit us, so yeah, I am not entirely "chill". I am making no sense so I am just going to stop now.
Below are some mini-reviews for the awesome four-five star rated books I read from October until today.
1. Monstress by Lysley Tenorio - There is something "pop" about Lysley Tenorio's collection. I mean that in a good way. Monstress talks largely of the immigrant experience but told with a certain level of kookiness that reminds me of George Saunders. Although Tenorio's collection is less hard hitting than the latter, but it's still pretty solid none the less. Tenorio writes compelling characters filled with despondency and hopelessness. It's heartbreaking having their glittering dreams turn murky. My favorite stories are: Monstress, Brothers, Felix Starro and Save the I-Hotel.
2. Drown by Junot Diaz - One of the things I love about Drown is whenever it tackles the family unit. Mother and father are not getting along. There are arguments, and infidelity, and lack of communication, and distance. And the wounds that the actions of the parents leave on a child can be absolutely devastating. And Junot writes all these with such gut wrenching rawness, and then he sprinkles in a humurous piece here in there just to keep our hearts from being utterly crushed. My favorites are: Ysrael, Fiesta, 1980, Aguantado, No Face and Negocios.
3. Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago - If death does go on a hiatus, for real, it will play out exactly how Jose Saramago wrote it in Death with Interruptions. Saramago is so precise with his scenarios, everything is utterly believable. And he's unbelievably funny. And life is a comedy first and a tragedy next if you ask me. And yeah, I've read about death personified but not like this. Death has become so fleshed out, so human because she looks inwards. She doesn't talk about her job and her observations about human nature, not always no. But she examines her actions, shall I do this? Shall I do that? What has become of me? And the last act was so sweet and so moving and I thought I was in this book for the laughs. On one hand, Saramago's writing can be tough to get through, for me at least. He writes mile long sentences that seem to have no period in sight. My utmost concentration was necessary. Haha.
4. Black Swan Green by David Mitchell - For the first time in my history of David Mitchells, I didn't have to do genre hopping, or think about interconnections and reincarnations and cycles and things. Black Swan Green is a simple coming of age story with enough pizzazz and kookiness that is customary of David Mitchell. And as usual he has written an excellent character in Jason Taylor. He is a relatable and down to earth kid, and sensitive and smart and very observant. It is impossible for you to not rally behind him, and it is even more impossbile for you to not be impressed at how precisely and intelligently, he unpacks the society and the world around him. No wonder he is an excellent poet, with that kind of keen sense of observation.
December Required Reading:
I started reading Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson but I am only about ten pages in, and it's quite a hefty book, so I can't say much about it. But it has gotten positive reviews all around so I am not worried about it sucking. I am worried however about my volatility and laziness. Haha. But so far so good.
Happy Holidays Everyone!