Wednesday, November 9, 2011
The above snap of my bedside table book pile should give some indication of the randomness of my extracurricular reads and the trouble I've had putting together a new coherent post. I read a lot for my dissertation, but rarely do I read books that I think would be perfect recommendations for the everyday voracious reader (unless anyone else has a fascination with 19th century country houses in which case boy do I have lots of books to recommend to you). Nevertheless, I've compiled a list of recent reads which I can recommend with moderate to significant enthusiasm:
The Sense of an Ending (Julian Barnes)--although wildly funny at its beginning, this novella/long essay peters into dark nostalgia in its second half and loses its energy. However, I found it worth it just for the opening chapters, at which I laughed aloud several times. It's also the most recent winner of the Man-Booker prize.
Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov)--I'm re-reading this for the third or fourth time and finding Humbert Humbert just as hilarious, oddly sympathetic, and simultaneously repulsive as I did the first time around. If you haven't read Lolita, you must. It's strange, funny, and makes you capable of feeling sympathy you didn't expect to have.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz)--It's a bit self-conscious about how smart it is in moments (a stupid simile about the MLA come to mind), but overall Diaz's novel is a funny and unsentimental portrait of the awkward coming-of-age of its protagonist, Oscar.
I've also read a giant stack of things I wouldn't recommend to any literate person, but this list of funny, sympathetic books definitely made the cut. Have your read anything lately that's so good you'd recommend it?
Labels: book recommendations