Books Read 2013

My final update of Books read here. (There is a possibility I’ve missed out a book or two; I haven’t been very good at record-keeping recently).

Book reading has certainly fallen apart this year – in fact the last two years (56 and 61 books respectively, as opposed to 88 and 100 in the two years previous) – and I’m not entirely sure why. Certainly I’ve watched a lot more films – that might have something to do with it – and I shall try to redress the balance next year. But I feel all the same a certain restlessness has entered into me with books, with fiction in particular; – non-fiction I don’t have any trouble with, but I find it harder and harder to sit down and concentrate on fiction any longer, to take much interest in these made-up lives.

I lean more these days towards plays, and I see this increasing next year. My liking for plays (going along with Aristotle and Poe) stems I think from the fact that they can be read in one sitting; that you get from them a complete, packaged artistic experience (novellas, of course, manage the same too), and I find this more pleasing. I don’t like going back to things I’ve already put down – not unless they’re good enough to deserve it.

I admit, I gave up finishing books in December, and have been deliberately back-logging them so I can a nice big figure for books completed for the start of next year. I’ve even resorted to getting on with Ulysses (which has impressively been on my Current Reading list now for over a year); and am in particular at the moment enjoying The Story of the Stone, which considering its length is probably just as well.

(Films Seen I will adjust at year-end, since I will no doubt watch some more before then. Also, will write a review of the year in early Jan hopefully).

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6 thoughts on “Books Read 2013

  1. Lefebvre wrote a life of Napoleon, which I’d be interested to read. I’ve seen him both denounced and embraced for his supposed filthy Marxist beliefs.

    The Coens do a nice piss-take of “Hasidic fairy tales” in A Serious Man, where they give one particularly convoluted and ultimately nonsensical fable to the supposedly wordly-wise Rabbi Nachner. Presumably the closeness in name is deliberate.

    I sometimes worry that I remain free of philosophical angst about fiction. I suppose the sad fact is that there is so much dross out there – but the good stuff, for me, remains compelling.

  2. I didn’t know Lefebvre was a Marxist, it didn’t really come across in the book as far as I noticed. I vaguely remember that bit in A Serious Man. Quite a few Hasidic style writings are obscure in a kakfaesque way. I’m sure I’ll find a few books yet to qualify for next year. It turns out for instance that Roberto Calasso isn’t dead yet, though whether his books are actually fiction I’ll have to find out.

  3. For some doubtless foolish reason I always think of Calasso and Eduardo Galeano together. I don’t think Calasso’s books are fiction in the Lionel Shriver sense, although they may well be in the WG Sebald sense.

  4. Not particularly liking either Shriver or Sebald, I’m going to hope it’s in the end like neither. But since the Cadmus and Harmony book is about Greek mythology, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.

    It turns out another writer I was going to read, João Ubaldo Ribeiro, is also still alive. I discovered it on my own list of writers I like who are still alive.

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