The Gull Reef Club

4/6/2007

Recent Reads

Filed under: — Jaime @ 9:00 pm

I recently worked my way through two short books, novellas as it were, I suppose. The first was The Enormous Room by one of my all time favorite poets, E.E. Cummings. This book is an autobiographical perspective of the folks with whom Cummings spent time in a French prison during World War I. While it had a few dry parts, on the whole, the book was quite enjoyable and an easy read. You’ll want to have a little knowledge of the French language or access to babelfish handy to truly comprehend everything Cummings says in the book. What struck me as most interesting is the reason why Cummings was jailed in the first place. A friend of his, with whom he was serving in a French ambulance corps, had written letters home criticizing the French government. Both Cummings and his friend were locked up for nearly a year because of these letters. Pretty scary, but it does lend credence to the historians that cite this era as the foundation of civil rights in America. All in all a pretty a good book and one I’d recommend to you beachcombers.

The second itty-bitty book was Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. This is one of those books that all the English-major-types rave about and insist others must read. Now that I’m through with it, I don’t get the hype. It was tedious at best. The literary theme of ‘darkness’ (from which much of the hype arises) seemed forced and not very well developed. Had the story ended shortly after ‘the horror! the horror!’ it may have redeemed itself, but the closing paragraphs were a pathetic and uninteresting way to end an rather dull story.

So now I’m looking for something more whimsical, and of course free and available online, to read. I’ll take any suggestions you beachcombers may have. Just no more Conrad. I’d rather watch paint dry.

3 Responses to “Recent Reads”

  1. Cyan says:

    Heart of Darkness is on my reading list, but it sounds like I can keep putting that one off for a while. I’m not really into watching paint dry. :P The main reason that it ended up on my list in the first place is the Herzog film Aguirre, the Wrath of God, which was apparently inspired by Conrad’s story. I know that you’re not much of a movie person, so I won’t go into a great amount of detail, but the film was really interesting.

    As far as more whimsical reading goes, you could try:

    The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle
    She by H.R. Haggard
    The Boats of the Glen Carrig by William Hope Hodgson

    These are all amusing adventure stories that are available on Project Gutenberg. :)

  2. Jaime says:

    Thanks for the suggestions, Cyan. I found this site last night: Azerbaijani Literature and read a couple of the short stories there. This one, Dormitory by Afaq Masud, is still haunting me a bit, so I guess that means it was good.

  3. Cyan says:

    I read Dormitory earlier in the day, and it’s still following me as well. Rather disturbing read, but good.

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The Gull Reef Club