December 10, 2007

Recent Reads

Since I've been suddenly freed of having to do any reading for school, I've been delving into my rather large pile of unread books. I tend to buy cheap books five or ten at a time from used book stores, and also to acquire them from people who are moving house. It's very convenient, and cheap, and also means that at any given time I have a stack of books waiting for me.

I like that. I mentioned a while ago that I tend to use books, novels more specifically, as a sort of security blanket. It's absolutely true. If I don't have a book to read when I finish the book I'm currently reading, it drives me absolutely bonkers. Some days I can't get any work done until I pick a book to read after my work is done. It doesn't seem to matter that I won't get to read it for some hours; it has to be there in case I get to read it sooner. It has to be there in case I need it.

Why would I need it? An emergency book-related situation? Somebody calls me on the phone and demands to be read a novel? Critical information printed on my bookmark? I have no idea, and it doesn't seem to matter that I don't have any idea. This is just how it is.

For a big part of the year, school takes care of this need for me. I'm doing an English Lit degree, with a history minor, and so if I'm not reading giant Victorian novels I'm probably skimming tutorial readings or something. There's always more reading to do for school.

Now that school is over for a (glorious) month, I get to read the things which have been waiting for me since the summer. Right now I'm just over 700 pages into A Traitor to Memory, which I am enjoying far more than I thought I would. I'm a big mystery fan, but I tend to avoid bestsellers . . . because I'm a snob, I guess. Also because you can't usually find recentish bestsellers for a dollar (pity). But, you know, it's excellent. Well done, Eliz. George. It's smart and complicated and while some plot points are a bit predictable, on the whole I've been guessing the whole time. As crime literature, it's pretty sophisticated.

Before that, I read Pipsqueak , and before that, Lost in Translation. Pipsqueak is kooky and that's all there is to it. Quick and amusing. Lost in Translation was mostly disappointing. There were some interesting things done with how the act of translation between Mandarin and English was written, but I don't think I'd reread it.

I wonder what'll be next?

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