Books Read / Films Seen – Jan 12

All in all, quite a packed cultural month, although the number of books read wasn’t as high as I’d been expecting (reviews here). I did though read the whole of Dostoevsky’s The Devils, which to me seems a remarkable feat (I have never in my life read such a long book in under a month; in fact, it’s many years since I’ve read anything that long at all – anything fictional, at least). I might even write about it at some point – I’m sure I can find something worth mentioning.

I’ve stuck I believe to my TBR notion: The Devils and In Limbo certainly both qualify as books lying for years on my shelf unread; the Kermode was a Christmas book; the rest leftovers from last year. There were rather too many leftovers in fact, and they’ll likely still take a few months working through.

Paradiso, by José Lezama Lima is taking rather longer than I thought (perhaps around the end of March will be more likely), but I shall plough on into the next book on the Latin American Readalong, which is Yawar Fiesta, by José María Arguedas – considerably shorter, I notice – and hopefully the complexities of his style won’t translate.

I have watched many films too.

Another record I set in this month: I only bought a single book (the least in a month, I should think, since I started working for a living). It was: Montauk, by Max Frisch. I like Max Frisch, and Montauk‘s fairly obscure (in English, at least).

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8 thoughts on “Books Read / Films Seen – Jan 12

  1. Kudos for The Devils. Not a book I would have assumed lent itself to quick reading. You’re doing better then me on the buying front: I have dismally failed to not buy any books this month.

    You’ve given the game away a little re: Bartleby & Co. Still, I’m looking forward to your full review.

    I remember thinking Army of Shadows was OK.

  2. I gave up on that Dosto about 50 pages from the end because it was just too aggravating at the time. Stupid me, now I have to go back and reread all of it again sometime (or do I?). I bought two books this month, but I only finished one. No way to reduce a TBR…

  3. I did stick to my own TBR pile reduction rule (which is changed daily, so it’s fairly easy).
    I got a little pile of Frisch’s books here and should try to get to them.
    No long books for me for a while.
    I thought L’armée des ombres was more than just OK. The way it works with sound, the ticking of the clocks, the footsteps is very well done. Plus it’s really depressing, for once not a heroic tale of the resistance.

  4. LH: Surely that was my review?! – Oh, I suppose I’ve talked myself into writing a longer one.

    R: 50 pages? Surely that’s the exciting bit of action – or was it another long boring political speech about Slavophiles or something? – The last section where Stepan Verkhovensky (?) wanders round the Russian countryside is quite good. – I’ve got stuck in David Copperfield 10 pages from the end once; I suppose I should go back to the beginning.

    C: I like Frisch – I’m Not Stiller is my favourite – a bit anti-Swiss perhaps. I tried watching a film by Swiss director Thomas Imbach the other day, but I found its curious sense of humour annoying. (As well as watching 16 films, I have given up on a lot more this month – Mubi isn’t entirely replete with masterpieces).

    AoS/AdO – I found a curiously meandering film, as if it had no real idea what its plot was. Better than the previous Melville I tried to watch though, Leon Morin (man and woman have pseudo-intellectual conversations during a war – I know, it sounds unlikely, and in a French film too!). Melville should just stick to film noirs (next up is Le Cercle Rouge, which looks more noirlike).

  5. Caroline, it certainly is a downbeat film, which of course makes it more realistic. It’s not my favourite of his films.

    Which reminds me, I’ve yet to see La Silence de la Mer, which I would very much like to.

  6. Ah right – I was going by the comment at the end of your character post – is that out of sequence with the previous one?

  7. 10 pages from the end of David Copperfield – eh, you were pretty much done. I don’t think there were going to be any surprises for you.

  8. LH: No, it’s true: I did say – and am planning – a review of B&Co.

    AR: I can’t remember the precise circumstances now; probably I just liked the idea of making my reading of the other 890 pages worthless because I never finished the book. I’m sure nothing happened anyway. Unlike The Devils, of course, where something does happen in the last 10 pages.

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