Books Read – April 11

Mini-reviews here.

I suppose I’m on target – a quarter of the way through the year, and 33 books read; but I was hoping it would be much higher.

I’m not sure there is much that’s all that obscure this month:

  • Hjalmar Söderberg, Swedish writer, early twentieth century. I have A Serious Game too, somewhere, as well as Doctor Glas, which I read this month. Has one of those narrators who’s a bit too like me.
  • Leonid Andreev (Andreyev, whatever), Russian writer, early twentieth century. Possibly the most depressing writer ever (even more depressing than Juan Carlos Onetti!). Here’s a quote of his from the dust-jacket: “I want to be the apostle of self-destruction. I want my book to affect man’s reason, his emotions, his nerves, his whole animal nature. I should like my book to make people turn pale with horror as they read it, to affect them like a drug, like a terrifying dream, to drive them mad, to make them curse and hate me but still to read me and … to kill themselves.” (Eager readers will remember I read something by him before).
  • Hermann Broch – well, not that obscure but people don’t read him much. Difficult, slow style; I was a bit harsh on him perhaps, but stories about rich people struggling with their social duties bore me. Still, better than Mann’s Buddenbrooks.

I see French and English books are dominating as usual, although I suspect German books will do quite well in the coming months. But then who can tell? My reading is pretty random. – It’s interesting that all four books I’ve read from the nineteenth-century are from the 1890s. Or is it? – And I’ve a book for every decade of the twentieth century, except the 1980s.

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