Saturday, April 16, 2005

To Read Later - Reading List

I have a reading list consisting of highly acclaimed work that failed to evoke any response in me on the first reading. It includes notably The Gulag Archipelago, Ulysses, The Clockwork Orange, Allen Ginsberg's Howl, Gravity's Rainbow among a number of others.

This morning, Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje made it to my list too (I did not fare any better with his English Patient either). I am at page 118 and have not seen the point. There is beautiful language that catches the attention often. Ondaatje is a word-craftsman without doubt. Anil is fairly interesting as a character but not riveting. I feel mired by the technical details of her job.

The backdrop of Sri Lankan civil war is so strident that the story pales before it. If past a third of the book I don't begin to feel oneness with the narrative and the cast of characters the book has all but lost me.

What is more the "suggestion-of-incest" prop has already been used to lend that special aura. This has become the sub-continental writer's devise of choice and a done to death one at that. One glaring example of overkill that comes to mind is The Blue Bedspread by our very own Raj Kamal Jha.

Each addition to my "Later" list marks a disappointment because I know I will never have the time to revisit. Life does not typically allow such luxury.

11 comments:

FunnyCide said...

Thomas Friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree... Thats when I discovered that I cannot read anything short of fiction and fantasy.. hee hee

buckwaasur said...

lol...u r much better than me...the only reason i buy highly acclaimed books is so that others can see them and admire me while under the false assumption that i actually read them...:-))

Chay said...

Good heavens, you have opened a can of worms here!! :-o
It was 10 or 12 years ago that I started Ulysses...and could not get past the 10th page. I thought I would retry a month ago....the book has a very pretty bookmark at page 2 and has a thin layer of dust on it now....:-)))
Buck!! that does not sound like such a bad idea either!! Lollz!! do u ever pretend to discuss them?? ;-))

Swinging Scab said...

well you might like ondaatje's running in the family... sometimes the lesser-known ones win over the much-hyped ones. But then again, if you haven't liked him so far...

Vivek said...

Ulysses: The only book that I have not really finished; more so as it drives my brain into a frezy that I cannot bear for long! I recommend the following site about Ulysses though:

http://www.bway.net/~hunger/ulysses.html
(Ulysses for dummies:)!

Heartcrossings said...

Vivek, thanks for the Ulysses link but I think I'll pass. Much rather read a book without barriers between writer and reader :-)

Vivek said...

Trust me, you will love the link; maybe more so once you have read through most if not all of Ulysses:)!

bottled-imp said...

few that comes to my mind are zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, tristram shandy, god of small things and many more.

Ubermensch said...

omagaawd
all ur laters are my fondest... The Clockwork Orange, Gravity's Rainbow .....havent yet ?? get out of here:))
and reg ulysses im very notorious for that, i tell u its the worst:))
oh man u dint finish english patient? its my one of the favorite love stories...i wept like a child when i was reading it...
anyways theres always *the firm* to feel good:)

Heartcrossings said...

Ubermensch - wow that any and all of that made sense to you ! For me I'll stick with stuff that clicks at first pass :-)

bottled-imp - Zen and the art of etc was not much fun for me. But I went ahead and read Leela too. Not much to write home about.

God of small things - lovely lyrical language but what's the point ?

Heartcrossings said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.