Pre-reading for Turkey

2006-11-26

in Books and literature, Daily updates, Oxford

In preparation for the trip to Turkey, I have moved on from V.S. Naipaul’s Half a Life to the copy of Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red that my mother sent as a birthday gift. Somewhat surprisingly, I find that I get more non-fiction reading done when I intersperse it with chapters from good fiction. It lets you take a break while remaining in a reading mode, and achieve a bit more balance without compromising your ability to get things done.

Written from the perspective of someone who has died violently, but remained capable of immortal communication, the beginning reminds me a bit of Orson Scott Card’s macabre short story “Memories of my Head.” There is an interesting contrast in literature between those who have passed through death to be uncaring about worldly things and those, like this narrator, who remain concerned with matters like wealth and revenge. The most sensible view has always seemed to be that expressed in Emily Brontë’s “Song.” It is a great shame that she herself died so young.

Academically, I have mostly been reading for the seminar this Thursday. Interesting as they have been, it will be a great relief to have the weekly effort they require ended, allowing greater opportunity to focus on the thesis.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean November 26, 2006 at 10:57 pm

I dislike Naipaul anyway. Do you like poetry? Derek Walcott is s far better Caribbean export. Jamaica Kinkaid’s ”A Small Place” changed my life. Now thats a great Caribbean book!

Milan November 26, 2006 at 11:01 pm

I did finish Naipaul’s book, and I thought it was ok. It’s hard to enjoy a book where the protagonist is a total dope – especially if it isn’t funny.

Sean November 26, 2006 at 11:20 pm

Naipaul tends to downplay the worth of his ancestry. And in person he is not personable, so I admit that I am not a fan. You really should try something of Jamaica Kincaid’s of George Lamming.

Milan November 27, 2006 at 6:57 pm

Another book I am adding to my reading list is Steven Johnson’s “The Ghost Map.”

On the basis of this review, it sounds really interesting.

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