Four books is too many

In November, our Book Club decided to try to read four books the two months. It was a little ambitious, to say the least. No-one finished all four. I managed three and a bit, but gave up on the last one (Updike’s Terrorist) after it made my head itch. I don’t think there was one book that everyone had read either. So we kind of skirted around them in the few hours we had for discussion. Ach, who cares – we were in the pub and the beer was excellent as usual.

I really liked Beowulf – much more than I thought I would. Heaney’s translation is aimed at the modern reader and yet is also supposed  to maintain the atmosphere of the original Angl0-Saxon (more Angle that Saxon, I expect). A saga of a brave warrior, set in a time of strong traditions and on the cusp of converting to Christianity, there’s battles against monsters in between meetings in Great Halls.

Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman was also a cracking read. I think people might be put off by the bizarreness of it all, but at the end it becomes clear what that is all about. It’s a morality tale that explores guilt, self-delusion, the nature of infinity, and the personalities of bicycles.

I already knew that Haruki Murakami was a great writer, and while After Dark was not as weighty as some of his other books, it is intense and I found it captivating. It’s not so much a novel as a set of stories about a handful of interconnected people taking place over a single noght. Some of it is suggestive of the supernatural, while the rest is deeply and realistically personal.

As I said, I couldn’t get into John Updike’s Terrorist, and I didn’t finish it. It just came across to me as being superficial, with detailed and yet stereotypical characters. None of the people I’d met in the book generated an ounce of empathy, let alone sympathy, and it made my head itch.

We’ve now decided to read The Life of Pi, which was a Booker winner for Yann Martel, and The Other Hand by Chris Cleave, which I’d never heard of before.

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “Four books is too many”

  1. readitsomeday Says:

    In June and August is hosting a discussion of Yann Martel’s ‘Life of Pi’ followed by his new book ‘Beatrice and Virgil’. Nothing fancy, no sign up, just read and comment as you see fit. There will be a schedule of the read along dates to help pace everyone, but you can read at your own pace if you choose too.

    If you are interested, mark your calendar and read along.
    Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

    June 19 to July 24

    326 pages

    Beatrice and Virgil, by Yann Martel

    August 7 to September 4

    224 pages

  2. mrs wormwood Says:

    I read Life of Pi. I liked it, and then I was told it was a christian metaphor. Whilst (after the fact) I could kind of see that I don’t see why that should make me change my mind about liking it. Who cares, it’s a nice escapist story.
    Never heard of the other one either.

  3. Danivon Says:

    I’m kind of getting that God is involved from early on, but so far (I’m about halfway through) it’s not really coming across as an allegory.

  4. mrs wormwood Says:

    Got my book club on The Road tomorrow.

  5. Danivon Says:

    I went with a few of our group to see the film version of The Road last week.

    It’s a pretty good story. I won’t spoil the end for you, but it also appears to be a bit of a christian metaphor. And so is The Third Policeman. And Beowulf has christianity slammed into it.

    Good grief! Maybe this book group is a front for an evangelical group who are slowly brainwashing me!

  6. mrs wormwood Says:

    Read it already, wouldn’t do very well tonight if I hadn’t, but I guess the film might be different. Again, didn’t get that it’s a christian metaphor, I must be metaphor blind!

    Oh, and my book group IS made up of evangelical christians…… They all go to the same ‘church’. eek.

    Mr Wormwood has got some suggestions about graphic novels for your turn, if you wanted to pop up sometime and look at his (extensive *sigh*) collection. Maybe some nice antichristian metaphor to make sure that they are just socialist, or to brainwash them…….

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