Monday, July 26, 2004

A look at books

Last night i finally finished reading THE LITTLE FRIEND by Donna Tartt. I was so looking forward to reading it because i loved her previous book THE SECRET HISTORY. Unfortunately, our little friend did not live up to the reputation of her previous novel. Not to say that it was bad, just that it wasn't written with the same urgency. Her first novel i could not put down, her second one took me 8 days to read (for me, a life time). In short, THE LITTLE FRIEND was probably a couple hundred pages too long and contained too much extraneous material. Early on a character is introduced in such a way as to make you believe she will play an important role in the story - a rival? An unlikely ally? a scape goat? But in the end, she plays no significant role at all. And as for the title, i never did figure out its significance. But the novel was not a complete waste of time. Some really great characters and interesting setting. Overall, 6.5/10.

A couple of weeks ago i read THE TOURNAMENT by John Clarke. Started out as a clever novel of a tennis tournament in which all of the twentieth centers great minds were playing. Imagine Picasso vs. James Joyce, Virginia Woolfe vs. Ella Fitzgerald etc. Quite captivating, n'est pas? Everything is reported in true sports journalistic style, with unique details on their playing styles that reflects the general ethos surrounding the player in question. Van Gogh suffers dizziness due to an ear injury, Ayn Rand annihilates her opponents, and so on. Thinly veiled political views were also captured in the sports play and commentary. Liberty and freedom among the most dominant themes. But after about 50 pages the cleverness gave way to triviality, and by page 88 i had given up entirely. Would have made a good short story, but a novel? Too tiring.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

this has nothing to do with your blog, but hotmail SUCKS and i cannot find your or sean's addresses due to hotmail sucking.

ok, so how 'bout you guys find a campsite for bumbershoot, and we'll get the tix? email my wretched hotmail account if you think that's do-able.

as for academia, i've gotten a mixed and somewhat strange message from my co-advisor today--the one that's been the only one doing any useful advising. you see, my "super" visor adamently stated i write a narrative of the obstacles in cross-cultural research, hooked me up with his infamous wife who does ethnographic educational research who directed me to the ethics board to get approval to interview chinese student to provide interpretations of what went wrong in the study. ! . not only is this ethically questionable, but it is also completely tangental (?) and unrelated, unnecessary and could possibly harm the population. my 'super'visor think this needs to be done. (?!) who the fuck does he think he is?! so my co-advisor is taking charge, is cajoling me with pleasant thoughts of a descriptive study with virtually no analysis, and floatation complements of what a good job i've done thus far--and to screw the narrative.

feeling rather elastic and high on caffiene, i again turn to completely unrelated school activities and instead analyze what campgrounds would be best at bumbershoot...perhaps i will analyze the essential fatty acid intakes of people on mushrooms versus those who are not.

12:56 PM  
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