post-war peace

It’s been about a month since I finished reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (by Stieg Larsson), and I still don’t really feel like writing or saying much about it. It wasn’t a bad book — I went in with zero expectations because I’d heard various mixed reviews about it back when it was super popular, so it couldn’t really disappoint — but it wasn’t amazing either.

It had some very strong (and graphic) points about sexual abuse and domestic violence, and it did well to highlight these issues, but it sort of left me wondering whether it actually had any significant impact on reducing the incidence of this kind of abuse. I’m generalising here, but I don’t think perpetrators are going to read this book and think, “This is wrong. I should stop doing this and get help.”

***Spoiler ahead*** [Do not proceed unless you don’t care about spoilers]

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war and peace and everything

I finished reading War and Peace on Tuesday (that’s more or less an entire year spent reading it). I then spent Tuesday night and the greater part of Wednesday alternately wondering how I was going to blog about it, and procrastinating from thinking about how to blog about it.

I typed out some notes and ideas on Tuesday that I could use as a starting point, or perhaps form into some sort of outline. But the more I thought about it on Wednesday, the more I felt like there was no real point in writing anything about something for which so much has already been written.

Yet, at the same time, I felt like there was so much that I wanted to write about.

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backstory

On the week-end I finished reading All That I Am, by Anna Funder. The same friend who had previously lent me copies of The Narrow Road to the Deep North and All Quiet on the Western Front also once told me that ATIA was one of her most favourite novels written in recent times (as opposed to classics or novels written and published decades ago).

It was probably about three years ago that she told me this. I wrote the name of the book down on a bit of scrap paper (we were at work at the time), and fully intended to read it. I can’t remember why she never lent me a copy of ATIA (too precious?) but I set out to find it in book stores. I don’t think I’d heard of it before, but apparently it was a number-one bestseller at some point.  Continue reading

strange fiction

After spending so much time reading Anna Karenina, I figured the next book I read should be a short one. I was given Haruki Murakami’s The Strange Library last year as a gift, and, being such a small book, it seemed like the natural choice. Well, I was a bit hesitant because Murakami tends to leave me with a lot to think about, so I thought it might be rather mentally taxing, but it’s illustrated and looks so pretty that I thought it was worth a shot.  Continue reading

Levin

I’m nearing the end of Anna Karenina – I’ve got less than 100 pages to go – and it saddens me so much to know that I must come to the end of this novel that has not only kept me company but comforted me and taught me various things over the last few months. I know I can always just re-read it, and I probably will one day, but there are so many other books I want to read that I’m sure it will be a very, very long time before I do.

The other day when I was reading (probably on the bus on the way to work), I paused for a moment, and looked at the book in my hands – I had the book open, but I was looking at the actual book, not the words on its pages. It brought a sad smile to my face to see how few pages remained in my right hand, while my left hand held all the chapters I’d already read. It was a bittersweet feeling.

I think I mentioned somewhere in a previous post that I wanted to write separate posts for each of the main characters (or, I suppose, for the ones I consider to be main characters) but I wasn’t sure if I would follow through with that idea. I’m still not sure if I will, but, at the very least, I wanted to write one for Levin – Konstantin Dmitrich Levin. [If you choose to read on, please note that there will be spoilers in this post.]  Continue reading

beautifully tragic

One or two weeks ago, I got a song stuck in my head. Well, not so much a song, but a fragment of it; and when I say “fragment”, I mean the tiniest fragment. All I knew was that fragment – a sort of “mmm-Mm” humming sound, which I couldn’t even Google, as I would for other song lyrics – and that it was by Rudimental, as I remembered hearing it at their concert.

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