Monday, May 11, 2009

Late-night reading

Sleep schedule now thoroughly distorted by post-semester schedule fluctuations. This book is based on an utterly ludicrous premise but I read it through to the end anyway. Joanna Smith Rakoff's A Fortunate Age is addictively readable and I blame it for one (not all) of my recent late nights. (I am surprised the Amazon reviews are not more positive - it is a novel of considerable charm, written by an evidently talented novelist whose subject in this book is perhaps too trivial to deserve the attention lavished on it - but it is an unusual gift, to write a book that so strongly compels the reader to the end, and I will eagerly look out for her next one.) Saskia Noort's Back to the Coast strikes me as excellent. High-caliber Dutch noir; caused me to reflect that novelists in some sense write books that are like themselves, ditto readers and their preferences, and that my subjective experience suggests that my own life, though it might not look so on the face of things, is far more Noortian than Smith Rakoffian...

3 comments:

  1. Why is the Dutch painting tradition so unbelievably strong and the literary tradition so weak? (No offense to Noort, I'm talking over hundreds of years.) Samuel Johnson wanted to try to learn Dutch to test whether or not he was going senile. I infer from that that no Dutch writer of interest crossed his mind before that point.

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  3. One-star reviews of Anne Frank's diary... makes you wonder how much stock to put in Amazon critics!

    http://www.cynical-c.com/?p=13347#more-13347

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