Reading list… The recently read!

November 21, 2009 at 1:49 pm (General, Reading)

Ok, so this isn’t much of a post, but I thought I’d put up the list of books I’ve read since coming to Japan and those I was in the midst of reading. Recently, I’ve reached a point where I read a novel or two about every week or two. So, by next week this will undoubtedly be expanded; though, I by no means intend to come back and add onto it. Anyway, here they be:

Thomas Pynchon’s V.
David Mitchell’s number9dream
Kurt Vonnegut’s Slapstick
Sun Tzu’s The Art of War (Lionel Giles trans.)
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

V. is Pynchon’s first novel, and it is epic and helluva ride. I recommend it highly to anyone, esp. if you’re used to some more difficult reading as this story gets convoluted in a hurry and doesn’t look back. David Mitchell was a welcome find. He taught in Japan as well for awhile and has gone on to write some acclaimed books that are in fact quite fun reads. They mix in Japanese culture very well, while telling an exciting and fast-paced story that also has some clever writerly (not in the Barthes tradition, leave me alone you literary people) approaches. Slapstick was great. It’s really funny in a tongue-in-cheek way, and you can in fact read it pretty quickly. I read it in a few hours where I didn’t have any work at work. I never actually read The Art of War before, always having meant to. The edition I read had a forward by James Clavell, and was fairly interesting to read. I think I’m going to try and tackle as many different translations as I can because it is a lot of information, and it needs to be ingrained a little more thoroughly in my brain, I think. The British version of the first HP book was left me by my apartment’s previous tenant, and at the moment I have embarked on Barthes’ S/Z and need consistent easier reading to keep my mind at peace. I first read the book as a kid in middle school and loved it; however, now it seems much less exciting and enjoyable. It only took me a couple break periods at work to put down, and it was nice to revisit the childhood memory.

In Process:
S/Z by: Roland Barthes
House of Many Ways by: Diana Wynne Jones

S/Z is in fact repeatedly and forcibly raping my mind. It’s not terribly difficult to grasp, but it must be read slowly in order for things to be allowed to actually seep in and take root. I hope to post some initial responses to the early sections of S/Z that seem to better transcend the specific text of Balzac that Barthes is looking at. House of Many Ways is one of two sequels to the novel Howl’s Moving Castle, which I first became aware of because of the Miyazaki movie. The novel seems equally interesting, however, and I do intend to get back to and read the other sequel as well as the first novel in this series. This book is quite good. I think it falls into a similar category as HP, though the overall mood is much more laid back and less hectic, so it’s actually a lot of fun and fairly relaxing to read. It is still a bit of a kid’s fantasy story, but enjoyable nonetheless. I have a feeling the first thing I turn out when I get back to writing may very well be children’s fantasy the way things are going. I am halfway thru House of Many Ways, so that might even be finished this weekend if I get bored. It’s a quick read, but still lengthy enough to make me be involved in the text. S/Z will probably be the work of a month or more. I’m at about page 30 of 200 and some. But it’s well worth it — interspersing 10-20 pages of true literary genius with 200-400 pages of children’s fantasy. Also whatever Firefox or Window’s built in internet spellchecker is doesn’t seem to recognize the word “children’s.” Really?! Come on guys!



  1. Sally Odgers said,

    I’ve been trying to get my claws on the audio version, but the only outlet I could fine can’t/won’t ship to Australia.

  2. mkatch said,

    Audio version of?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: