I’m finally starting to make a “dent” in my to-be-read shelves! YAY! On the downside, due to work events and the seasonal time change affecting me more than usual this book took two weeks to read, which is sad because it was so beautifully written.
I’m going to start by saying take my review with a grain of salt because this is a book about books and writing and conservation so of course I loved it. It also coincided with our visit to the 39th Annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair (a blog post about it on The New Antiquarian as the BIABF’s website appears to be down), which was great because we saw many religious texts which reminded me that I needed to finish reading this wonderful book! I’ll talk more about the fair later in a special Culture Corner post, hopefully, or at the very least in my November recap in early December.
This novel was such a fun quick read that I’m so glad I took a chance and said yes to the publisher when they reached out to me with a copy.* It didn’t hurt that they suggested I read this piece in the New York Times first and I laughed out loud multiple times (the animation is an added bonus!).
I had very little knowledge or expectations going into Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes other than thinking it was a quirky title and it was a debut novel. I didn’t even know it was set in Providence, Rhode Island until I started reading and did a double-take when they started naming locations around Brown University that I’ve been to. So obviously it got bonus points for that too! We all know I’m a sucker for books set in locations I have fond memories of.
My friend Carlie (Hi Carlie!), recommended this book way back when I started this blog not long after she recommended The Hunger Games and I picked up a copy back in December 2012. I don’t know why it took so long for me to get around to it, but it did. I should’ve known better based on how much I enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy andThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, another of her discoveries.
This book really should be mentioned in the same breath of books like The Color Purple and Bastard Out of Carolina. Maybe it is and I’m not aware of it, but if it isn’t I’m not sure why. It was published in 1985 right in between the Color and Carolina and it’s just as harrowing, real and disturbing as either of those. (It’s also compared to Faulkner, but I can’t speak to that as I’ve never read him.)
After reading Tropic of Capricorn I needed a break from reading anything remotely difficult and this had been on my shelf for quite a while (June 2013) and I figured it was pretty short and murder mysteries are usually a quick read and thankfully it was both quick and interesting.
What really stood out to me was how excellently written and easily flowing the text was. Similar to Blindness and some of Paulo Coehlo’s works (Witch of Portobello Road and The Alchemist) I wonder if it is the translator, this is a different one, or if it is just the beauty of the Spanish/Portuguese language and the translation that results. I wish I would’ve read Martínez before going to Spain because I would’ve looked for one (or more) of his books in Spanish!
I didn’t think it was possible, but I liked this one even less than Tropic of Cancer. Seriously, I was in no way a fan of this book. The amount of raunchy sleazy descriptions in Tropic of Capricorn, if possible out weight those in the first novel.
The only thing I can truly say I’m grateful for is that I got it off my shelf where it’s languished since the 2010 Boston Book Festival (it was the last one!). It also counts toward my Classics Club list so yay for that too!
I can’t even pretend it’s hard to say why I didn’t like this book, it really was just too much sex, misogyny, sexual assault and crass language. When you add in the stream-of-consciousness I’m surprised I even got through the book. It’s no wonder the book was banned in America (Wikipedia link) for 30 years. I don’t believe in book banning or censorship, but this really tested my limits.
Full steam ahead right? We’re entering the last two months of the year and those are never busy. That last sentence is dripping with sarcasm. Mostly I’m impressed I’m reading anything at all, let alone keeping up with blogging, podcasting and another project that’s in the works. (Not to mention work and friendships and stuff.)
Outside of work it was a busy month full of culture and reading. I’ll talk more about La Bohème and our trip to Wellfleet and Provincetown, MA in the culture corner section. To end the month we went to my friend Caitrin’s house party for Halloween where I dressed as an old fashioned ghost and Tim dressed as Frida Kahlo. Needless to say I’m ready for the cooler weather to stick and to curl up with a book and read, but I don’t know if I’ll have any time to do that this year.
For episode eight of Come Read With Me my friend Peter joined me to discuss Sylvia Path’s only novel The Bell Jar. Although his reasons for wanting to read it were questionable, it was an interesting read. Peter does tweet @peteantonellis, but be forewarned it is all politics and The Simpsons.
Aside from Peter’s ridiculous knowledge when it comes to British Naval Fiction, we discuss the reading list of Daria Morgendorffer; blurring the lines between fiction, memoir and autobiography; mental health and institutionalization; New York City and Boston; WTF are bell jars and diving bells?; modern adaptations of classics; manga vs. anime; and a plethora of other random subjects. You know how it works with these podcasts tangents pretty much are the podcast. I’m embarrassed I couldn’t remember the name Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, I mistakenly called it Dr Strange and Mr. Norrell.