My Book Binge

Not nearly as prolific as MaryP‘s book list, but the adventure was fun! Hopefully I contributed some reads that other people haven’t even heard of!

Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes

This one a required reading for Cultural Studies, the French author provides a valuable insight into the world of photography and the psyche that the medium presents to our culture. Fairly academic, so not something one would want to pick up for a casual read if they happened to want nice fiction, but if you want something a little more insightful concerning something we often take for granted in North America, this one is highly recommended!

Master Harold … and the boys, Athol Fugard

The second book on my list is actually a play, surprisingly. It was a required reading for English class, and was one of the few plays I really got into. Set it South Africa, the play is basically an analysis of the development of racist thinking, and at around 50 pages, it was a quick but hefty read. Emotionally draining, perhaps, but still insightful into the makings of a racist line of thought — and very critical of the damage these thoughts do not only to the blacks, but the whites as well! Much recommended if you like a good, thoughtful play!

Naked Empire, Terry Goodkind

One of many books in my mindless fantasy drivel, this one is about an empire hidden away in some mountains which the main characters must help save. Not really recommended for anyone who wants anything particularly appealing. The only reason I have made it this far into the series is because of the fact that I need something stupid to read in the mornings on the bus… required reading needs to be put aside every now and then!

The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy

If you like attempted literary novels that really come out more as offensive blahness, this book is for you. It was a required reading for English, but not a single English professor at my school even liked it. It’s a surefire drop-off for next year’s list. The author writes like a 7-year-old poet… too many adjectives, not enough content. The book leaves you trying to figure out the point, but with none in sight. Unless you want to read about children getting beaten and molested in India, then don’t even consider this book!

The Pillars of Creation, Terry Goodkind

See Naked Empire. This one is the book prior to N.E., and its plotline is reasonably similar. The biggest difference — and I suppose letdown — is the fact that most of the main characters of the series don’t surface in this book until the very end. Even less recommended than Naked Empire! Heck, if you’re not looking for something mindless, steer clear of the entire series!

The Thousandfold Thought, R. Scott Bakker

Now, intriguingly, this one is another of my “mindless fantasy” books, but it’s done by an author who truly has a sense of literature. Unlike Goodkind’s stuff, this one comes highly recommended, although you would want to start with the first book of the series, The Darkness that Comes Before. Not something most mothers would read, I suppose, but it’s got the feel of one of Tolkien’s novels to it, with slightly less static characters and a more potent ending to the trilogy. This is the third of the trilogy, by the way — so you really don’t want to start here!

Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe

Read for English class at university, this novel was a nice read, although not the best we covered throughout the year. An African post-colonial novel, this piece offers some insight into the conflicting emotions one feels living under colonists, as the world around you is forever changed. Unfortunately, the writing style was far closer to what you would expect from an English or North American author, so I didn’t feel completely satisfied that I had attained true knowledge of the African point of view.

Unfortunately, surrounding this novel is a bit of controversy insofar as it is basically the only African novel that is presented in university classes. Most African literature is overlooked, and most likely because this has a much more familiar ring to it. I recommend this one if you want a reasonably short but enduring read, but one of my personal endeavors is likely to be seeking out some other African works to see how they differ!

Wild Swans, Jung Chang

Three daughters of China — the story of Chinese history as seen through the eyes of a woman, her mother, and her grandmother. Captivating piece of historical narrative, and the combination of large-scale history and autobiography makes it the best piece I read! Read it for history class, but I loved it! Very recommended!

Wikinomics, Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams

I admit, not finished yet. So much school reading that this one was hard to actually manage to complete, especially since it is so very academic. But the entire notion behind it (how mass collaboration is changing everything!) will change the very thoughts you have when you are sitting at your computer blogging! Fascinating!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. blackberry guy
    May 02, 2007 @ 15:18:00

    Nine books in a month, only two of them schlock … that’s pretty impressive by me.

    I’d be interested in taking a look at Wikinomics sometime.


  2. MaryP
    May 04, 2007 @ 12:17:00

    And me, I want to borrow Master Harold from you, if you have it with you!

    “offensive blahness” – LOL. Almost an oxymoron, but expressive of a certain unfortunate type of writing.

    Thanks for particpating!


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