Books Read – Mar/Apr 2012

Books: reviews here.
Films: reviews here.

I’ve not read many books; I have watched a lot of films. Perhaps there’s a connection there. Books are likely to pick up a bit after May, when I don’t expect to read many either.

A few names:

  • Dacia Maraini, an Italian writer – I found this one rather dull. This was a break in my TBR reading, I’d only just bought it and there were another 5 or so books by her for sale, so I thought I try it before buying the others. Needless to say, I didn’t buy the others.
  • Endre Ady is the greatest Hungarian poet of the c20th. He also wrote some short stories.
  • The others I’ve mostly mentioned before. I’m sure I was going to post something on Henry Green, what with everyone else doing so, but never got around to it.

I have done quite a bit of reading, I guess – just not that last bit of effort to finish things. Auto da Fé is very close (three-quarters complete), which seems a major achievement; but I got distracted in the last week or so and started a whole lot of new stuff instead.

51 films by the end of April is pretty good. We might make 150 for the year.


10 thoughts on “Books Read – Mar/Apr 2012

  1. Sacreligious to say maybe, but aren’t all Chaplin’s films interminably dull? Bar The Great Dictator, I suppose.

  2. I love Borges but I must admit I found Brodie’s Report underwhelming as well. I enjoyed your comparison of him to Kipling a while back, you make a good case for reading the latter.

    I’ve thought about reading Runciman in the past, but I have a number of chunky histories (eg CV Wedgewood) that I should probably tackle first.

  3. Yes, not one of Borges’ best. Tomás Eloy Martínez’s The Tango Singer, which I’m about halfway through, has a lot about Borges in it, particularly The Aleph.

    The Wedgewood and the Runciman are both really good histories (and I’m reading more good histories now, GM Trevelyan and JK Galbraith). There’s a nice review of the Wedgewood here, which I found through Waggish (I was attracted to the Shandeian name of the blog) and which I think is very true.

  4. Yes, The Tango Singer is very entertaining. It surprised me a bit in that respect: I was just imagining it would be an easy read. A lot better than the last (and more famous) novel of his I read, Santa Evita, in my opinion.

  5. I put down Auto Da Fe half-finished in around 1978 and never picked it up again. I suppose there must be some people in the world who have got to the last page, though I’ve never come across one.

  6. I did have a previous go at Auto da Fe about 10 years ago, and gave up around page 100, though I couldn’t have really said why. I don’t even think I was struggling. This time around I’ve almost cracked it, yet it’ll have taken me five months. Even 100 pages from the end, I’m not that enthusiastic about pushing on. Yet, there are really good bits in it: I enjoyed the long last scene I read where Kien was arrested along with his wife and caretaker for brawling and possibly robbery. The whole middle section, though, with Fisherle, is rather tedious. A bit like Broch perhaps in this respect, but better than Broch in the good bits.

  7. Stay with Auto Da Fe!! It gets more intense/insane towards the end. This coming from one of those people who actually did get to the last page, and enjoyed it so much it’s been repeated since.

  8. Yes, I imagine I’ll finish it, now I’ve got this far. One of the tragic things is that I already know what happens at the end.

    Actually, my real reason for reading Auto Da Fe is so that I can read volume 2 of Canetti’s autobiography (The Torch in My Ear), which is about the period when he wrote. (I’ve read volume 3 already – I’m reading it backwards for some reason – which is really wonderful on the subject of writing and the literary scene in … wherever he was now, Vienna? Munich? Somewhere round there).

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