Books that I have read, reread, or am in the process of reading. I've always wished I read more, so hopefully this list helps me out as it keeps track of my progress.

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I don't know how many times I've gone through this book, but every time feels like a new and different experience. Strangely enough, I've never read it from cover to cover. More than anything, I read it as philosophy first and fiction second.

  • Beloved by Toni Morrison

Still a difficult but rewarding read. Proof that language need not be high-flown to be rich and beautiful. Picked it up again after watching the movie again. Both are sublime in their own way.

  • Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

Another book I've never read from cover to cover, and it shouldn't be! Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Along with One Hundred Years of Solitude, one of my very favorites.

  • The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

I've finally read something new! And boy is it a masterpiece! The language is magnificent:

Now the other side presented itself to Lily, the volcanic nether side of the surface over which conjecture and innuendo glide so lightly till the first fissure turns their whisper to a shriek...

And the heroine and her love story. So damn exquisite and heartbreaking. Now I want to read The Age of Innocence!

  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Still can't seem to finish this book. There's something about the middle part that turns me off. There is definitely nothing wrong with the technique, as the beginning and end are lovely. I'll try again some time.

  • The Elephant Vanishes by Murakami Haruki
  • After the Quake by Murakami Haruki

Despite his reputation, I can't say I've been terribly impressed by this author. There are quite a few short stories in these anthologies that I find very good, but I wouldn't call them great. I found the cultural displacement from Japan and constant references to Western art and culture extremely irritating at first, but now I've gotten used to it. Perhaps he doesn't translate well into English? Maybe his novels are better.

  • The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon
  • Rage of Angels by Sidney Sheldon
  • If Tomorrow Comes by Sidney Sheldon

Honestly, I'd rather read and reread these novels than either of the Murakamis. Supremely enjoyable, and surprisingly literary at times! With me, there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure.

  • Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface

I still don't entirely get this manga, but that's not unexepected as it's the same case with the first book. From what I can glean from it, this, along with Ghost in the Shell, is perhaps the most profound statement I've encountered regarding the body, identity, technology, and virtual space. Marvelous, but a downright challenge to get through.

  • Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics by Frederik L. Schodt

Fascinating and enlightening. Discusses the aesthetics, cultural context, and economics of Japanese comics with intelligence and, more importantly, critical academic insight. Nary a trace of fanboyism or fangirlism.

  • Eyewitness Travel Guides: Portugal with Madeira and the Azores
  • Eyewitness Travel Guides: Seville And Andalusia

The best guidebooks I've come across so far. Visually spectacular: they're in full color and the photographs range from places to people to food to art to money and road signs! Also extremely informative, they provide not only details on the sights to see, but historical and cultural backgrounds as well. Love them!

  • After the Funeral by Agatha Christie

I'm slowly figuring out the tropes Christie uses to construct her mysteries, so the solution this time around wasn't altogether too surprising. What is more interesting, however, is that the novel reads like a dark comedy about class relations beneath the conventional whodunit trappings. It seems like there is always something else going on in Christie's writings than she is usually given credit for.

apr 6 2008 ∞
jan 12 2009 +
user picture katia: have you read some of Murakami's novels though? i've also read some of his short stories but while some were really amazing, i was kinda lost on the other ones haha. what's Invisible Cities like? i've read his If on a winer's night.. and i struggled through it. i'm kind of intimidated by him now. apr 7 2008
user picture Martin: Hiya! I'm tackling Murakami's novels next, starting with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and then maybe A Wild Sheep Chase next. Generally speaking, I like books with a very strong sense of place and culture, so maybe that's why I'm not yet that keen on him. Take what I say with a barrel of salt, though, I'm a very poor reader. I don't read a lot, save for poetry and Archie comics :) Invisible Cities is really awesome! I don't think it's as convoluted as If on a winter's night. It's really one-of-a-kind! I guess the best way to describe it is it's a philosophical travelogue. And if you can get through Philip Roth (I can't), this will be a breeze.
user picture katia: Haha yeah go with his novels! I absolutely loved Norweigan Wood and Sputnik Sweetheart was pretty awesome as well. :) Both are love stories so I'm not really sure if you'd be into them as much, but yeah. :p I've read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and I didn't really like it that much, it was probably just too deep and symbolic for me. So good luck with that. :) I'll keep Invisible Cities in mind then. I've only read Roth's The Plot Against America, does that count? His other novels do seem a bit.. serious, I don't know. Archie comics ftw! How can you be a poor reader if you like poetry? I dread reading that stuff, I like sticking with prose haha.
user picture Martin: Aww, Norwegian Wood and Sputnik Sweetheart are the ones I don't have! I'll see if I can pick them up :) Haha, well, I've had The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle the longest out of all the books (it's been eight years, I think) so I just want to get it out of the way. I'm going through my book backlog from oldest to newest. The Plot Against America was the one I utterly failed to make it through! I just gave up :P Oh, I'm more comfortable with poetry because they're short, and all I have to do is read them again and again (and again) until I get them. I think I have a really short attention span. Ridiculously thick novels scare me sometimes. Haha! apr 8 2008
user picture riacar: I've only read one Murakami and I absolutely loved it -- "Kafka On the Shore" :)Really excellent. I cannot bring myself to read the rest of his stuff, for some reason the premise doesn't quite call out to me yet.
user picture Martin: Aww, I don't have that one either! I've read the synopsis, and it does sound interesting :) I'll plow through the Murakamis that I have first, and then take it from there. I'm just worried I'm only adding to my ever-unwieldy backlog :P apr 21 2008