Another month down, and it didn’t go quite as I had planned, but…we’ll see.
First, I zipped through another quick library read. Usually English books—especially contemporary and current ones—are hard to find here in Korea, but I saw this on the shelf and picked it up. It was all over the blogosphere, so I was hoping for something good. In that way, I’d have to say I was disappointed. As for its niche of YA, it fit perfectly. I read the whole book in half a day, so by no means was it daunting. However, the story was lacking and a bit predictable. Everything else was quite nice, though, sadly. I wished the writing hadn’t been wasted on such a banal story.
Then, in what took me an immensely long time, I completed Rushdie’s Midnight Children. It’s a difficult book to pin down. While I liked a lot of it-especially all the strange powers and his uncanny skill at writing dense sentences that were still mesmerizing and not clunky at all—I found, overall, the story to be too lengthy and rambling. I did enjoy the history I picked up along the way and a lot of the uniqueness. Definitely not an easy read, but it got me wondering what else he has to offer.
To follow that up, I wanted something light, so I dove into Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. It details apartheid South Africa, giving wonderful insights into living in such a strangely constructed world. The whole time I found it amazing how this kid was able to get out alive and become the host of TDS. Though some reviews were hoping for him to depict his rise more, I found this to be exactly what I needed to understand him more. The end was especially powerful, and I can’t recommend this book enough.
From such light-hearted fare, I jumped into Wide Sargasso Sea. I already knew the premise of the story going in, and having read and reread Jane Eyre a couple of times, I was fully prepared for all the overlaps. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much. Only at the end did any true allusions to the great novel it comes from come up. That said, I did find the story slow and weighty. For such a short book, I had to push to get through. Nonetheless, I see what the author was striving for, but I don’t feel it deserves all the hype it got / gets.
To give myself something completely different, I read In the Miso Soup. Holy Crap! It was different. It’s about sex and murder in Japan, and the narrator’s voice is so spot on and chilling, you get dragged into it instantly. Althought I felt reserved and hesitant to trust any of the writing at first, I was a convert and a true Ryu Murakami fan by the end. If I had to compare it to anything, I’d say it’s like the Fight Club for the Japanese 90’s. If you like horror and political commentary, this is right up your alley.
Finally, I got to my book club read for the month: Soonish. I helped pick this one with high hopes that it would be in the vein of Rational Optimist. And although certain areas delivered on this premise, I was overall underwhelmed. Firstly, a lot of the tech they discuss is not the revolutionary and seem to be too far off in the future to be viable. The ones that do seem to be preeminent are not as fascinating as I would have hoped, though the moral questions they raise were particularly grabbing. On top of this, I found all of it to be a bit longer than needed. Read it if you have no knowledge of any of future tech. Sadly, if you’ve read any Michael Crichton, I’d say skip this book.
Progress on 2017 goals
- Finish Crasher: Done—sent to: 0 more this month. Total: 82 agents
- Read Life: A Manual: Done
The Fountainhead: Done
Here I Am: Done
Ship of Fools: Done
Tess D’ubervilles: Done
Middlemarch: 800 pages. In the home stretch.
- Send ‘All the Things in the Unknown World’ to agents: 225—done!
- New Book: Brief Lives: pushing beyond 90,000 words.
Next Month’s Agenda
I one hundred percent want to finish sending out queries for Crasher and complete Brief Lives. The sole reason for this is that I want to start a re-write of Turtle Boy. Now that my writing has improved, I want to update one of my first books and try sending it out. Besides that, I’ll be finishing my goodreads challenge soon and hope to get ready for a repeat next year.