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Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

The main premise of this book is a world with a class system in which what colors you can perceive is what sets you apart. The protagonist is a “red”, who has been sent to the outer rims of civilization because he has shown signs of rebellion – attempting to improve queuing. It’s an interesting premise – and the book is full of absurdist humor. The story and the characters weren’t as interesting.

The Children of Men by P.D. James

If there is no future for the human race, what is the point of fighting for anything – of rebelling? P.D. James describes a world of infertility in which the last remaining youth is revered and everybody is meekly waiting for the world to come to an end. It’s an interesting concept for a post-apocalyptic book, but I felt the book was long-winded and then ended prematurely.

Three Famous Short Stories by William Faulkner

When I was visiting New Orleans we heard various stories about William Faulkner and his time drinking in the city. I had never read any Faulkner, so I figured now would be a good moment to try some. I eventually found a tiny book store – housed in one of the places Faulkner had lived. It was run by an old American lady and her dog, and I suspect they had been there for the last 20 or 30 years. Every visitor was consistently sniffed by the dog and greeted by the old lady. I asked her for recommendations on a first Faulkner and this is what she gave me.

These stories were a mixed bag. Spotted Horses did nothing for me. Old man was better – not because of the story but because of the characters. The Bear was my favorite, in particular his recreating the air and atmosphere of hunting in the south.


Written by aristillus

July 27, 2013 at 12:02

Reading update

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The Silver Hand by Stephen Lawhead

The second book in the series; well written, but nothing more (or less) than your average fantasy-with-fighting-Celts novel. Perhaps I’ve read too much of this stuff. I’m going to read the third and final novel in the Paradise War series just to feel content with myself for having finished the trilogy, but I don’t have any high hopes for how that will turn out.

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Great satirical novel about the life of a WW II veteran. I unintentionally brought this book with me to read during a stay in Dresden, and it so happens the Dresden bombings are featured prominently in Billy’s time flashes. So it goes.

Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis

The writer narrates his experience as a bond salesman for Salomon Brothers on Wall Street during the mid- to late eighties. That there were excesses to capitalism wasn’t new to me, but it is interesting to know more about the culture and how the traders and salesmen actually work. It’s shocking how little they actually understand of what they’re trading, and how ruthless they are in the face of money.

This book assumes the reader is familiar with a whole host of financial products; you might want to read up on CMOs and the like if you’re not familiar with them.

Een goede man slaat soms zijn vrouw by Joris Luyendijk

Luyendijk writes about his time studying in Cairo and his experience exploring the differences between the west and Islam. It gives a good impression of the atmosphere and is a quick and fun read. I wonder how different his book would have been if it had been written post-9./11.

Written by aristillus

January 5, 2013 at 23:54

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