Wednesday, March 7, 2012

So many, many books

I know that my blogging has not been terribly frequent over the past two months, so by way of explanation, this post is about all the books I've had to read for class during that time. Admittedly, I didn't finish every one of these texts, but it wasn't for lack of trying. So I hope, dear reader, that you will understand if I haven't been able to take a lot of time out for writing. Here's the list:
  1. The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
  2. Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
  3. As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner
  4. Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
  5. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
  7. The Passion of New Eve - Angela Carter
  8. Nights at the Circus - Angela Carter
  9. Serious Money - Caryl Churchill
  10. Money - Martin Amis
  11. Neuromancer - William Gibson
  12. Crash - J.G. Ballard
  13. The Heat of the Day - Elizabeth Bowen
  14. Hangover Square - Patrick Hamilton
  15. Beloved - Toni Morrison
  16. Feeding the Ghosts - Fred D'Aguiar
  17. Waiting for Godot - Samuel Beckett
  18. Endgame - Samuel Beckett
  19. Briggflatts - Basil Bunting
Yes that's 19 novels/plays/books of poetry in 8 weeks. Numbers 1 through 6 were for my Modern American Novel class. The rest were for my core Master's course, which is Literature and Modernity. Good times! I also read The Hunger Games a few weeks ago, which, admittedly, I did not have time to read, but I did anyway. So you see how I haven't had much time to compose many thoughtful blog posts. But to make this one a little more thoughtful than a mere listing of books, how's about a few recommendations? 

My favorite of the lot was, naturally, Beloved. I say "naturally" because this is one of three novels by Toni Morrison on which I am writing my dissertation this summer. Morrison is a genius, and you should read anything you can of hers. Beloved is haunting and sad, but so so good. This woman writes novels that are sheer poetry.

Of the rest, I liked many, if not most of them (in fact, the only one I really can't recommend is Crash because it is downright pornographic), but I have to recommend Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton in particular. 

If you went to high school with me, you likely groaned at the mention of ZNH, but when I read Their Eyes Were Watching God, I was really blown away. I don't know if it's because I'm older now or if as I student of literature I just appreciate it more or what, but I really enjoyed it. I found the story really moving, and it didn't hurt that it is set mostly in central Florida, of which I am a huge fan. Throughout the book, she would mention various places and I would be all, "Hey! I've been there!" Not many of my classmates could say the same.

As for Hangover Square, that is the story of a man with split personalities, one of whom is in love with a woman and one of whom wants to kill her. It's so fun! It's actually pretty dark and tense, and this woman he's in love with, Netta, is just begging to be punched in the face, but I enjoyed it. It's worth a read.

I hope this has given you some food for thought, my friends. I will try to be more diligent in the future, but I've still got seven more books, two 4000-word essays, and a 1000-word dissertation proposal to finish between now and August 12, so no promises. But I will do my best. 

Until next time, here's a very untimely synopsis of X-Men: The Last Stand by a kid on YouTube whom I find amusing. Cheers!


  1. you're taking an american lit class whilst studying abroad in scotland?

  2. You really had a lot of books to read for your book review. Have you already read all of them? Well, it is good that some of them can help you with your master dissertation topic. Which reminds me, what happened to your dissertation anyway? I hope everything was going according to what you want it to be. Anyway, good luck!