Thursday, February 22, 2007

I've been reading lately, and I recently finished J.G. Ballard's Cocaine Nights, which didn't really impress me as much as I wanted it to. It's the whole descent into... well, not madness, but adoration? Anyway, since Ballard wrote Crash and The Atrocity Exhibition, I was actually expecting more from him - more violence, more sex, more violent sex and sexy violence. I was expecting something that would make me queasy like Ichi the Killer made me queasy. But this didn't do it. So read Empire of the Sun, and read Crash, but I think it would safe to skip Cocaine.

On the other hand, I started Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, and I had to stop. It's just too precious. I didn't buy the boy's voice at all, and he seemed too precocious for his own good and my gag reflex. But I feel kind of bad, because this is one of the first post-9/11 novels to deal with 9/11 in some direct fashion. I just wish it hadn't been treacly, or gooey like it is. And that's even before I got to the pages with the text that all ran together into big blocks of... well, text. At some point in the book - I looked ahead, but I didn't read ahead - the text starts to run into itself, until it because a big mass of black ink. I don't get this, but then I didn't read the section. The problem is, I was driven away by the rest of the story, so I never got that far.

I'll give Foer one thing: He at least gave it a shot. It just didn't work for me. Of course, I didn't like Everything is Illuminated either.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I can't stand it. I'm done with The Brothers Karamzov. I can't bring myself to read it anymore, and I suggest that if you want to read some good Dostoyevsky, stick to Crime & Punishment. It's got many of the same themes, but it's a much better book. Karamazov was Dostoyevsky's last book, and it seems to me that he was given a lot of leeway and deference when writing this. As I wrote in other posts, he got away with a lot of stuff that would have fucked a first time writer, or even a mid-list writer. And that pisses me off, because this thing is touted as a masterpiece. It's a piece of shit, really.

So skip it. Don't waste your time, like I did mine. I'm not going to sell this thing on eBay or, because I wrote in the damn thing. Then again, maybe I will. Of course, when I list it, I'll write about how great it is, and what a masterpiece it turned out to be. But I'll be trying to sell it, so you understand.