Friday, August 02, 2013

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

Duck feet (from below). Geilston Bay. July 2013.

I'm back on the buses again, which ups the time I have to read. This is always nice.

After The Wall, Jana Hensel: I'm always up for an East German generational memoir, which is Hensel's goal here. What differentiates this one from many of the others is that Hensel reflects on the very last of that generation, those that were at the tail end of their childhood at the fall of the Berlin Wall and whose teenage years coincided with the process of reunification. I'm not certain that this translation helped (it was packed full of jarring Americanisms), but was an interesting-enough reflection. C.

Grendel, John Gardner: A fascinating novel that retells the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf from the perspective of the monster and - quite successfully - explores (among other things) the nature of good and evil; man's capacity for violence; finding meaning in the world; and the power of literature and myth. I really enjoyed this, and it stands as a great counterpart to the epic poem. B+.

Casino Royale, Ian Fleming: My first ever James Bond book is the first ever James Bond book. The set pieces are effectively tense and well constructed, and Bond is suitably drawn. That said, the intensity of his misogyny has not aged well, and doesn't fit with the heroic nature of the character. Let's be frank, any time the romantic lead posits that sex is at its best when there is a 'touch of rape' present should be a challenge to modern readers. He's also a bit of a prick more generally, to be honest. C+.

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