Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Some new pearls for my collection.

This year for my birthday I got some books! This may be a bit difficult to believe, but I don't get books all that often, I mostly just buy them myself.

And no, the books on linguistics (Linguistics - An Introduction to Language and Communication and Women, Men and Language) are not course literature. They will constitute my self-study this summer when I'm not taking any summer classes. Thom in Paris was kind enough to send me the Despentes books (Baise-Moi and a collection of short stories entitled Mordre au travers) that I simply can't wait to start reading! They are perfect additions to my small Despentes collection. The book on top, Art Poétique, is a book I always imagined as extremely dry and boring whenever it was mentioned in literature class in France. As I was writing an essay on Anna Akhmatova for my Russian literature class, I started thinking about Boileau and decided to check out his Art Poétique (instead of just reading about it) on GoogleBooks, and realized it was highly amusing and actually fun to read! So, thank you eBay for this tiny little book!

And how delightful is not this absolutely beautiful Russian tea cup? I can safely say it's the most awesome teacup I have. Thank you Sasha!

Since it's my birthday today I thought I should do something that I sincerely want to do, and the one thing I could think of was to read the Fountainhead. Yesterday I picked out my "Book Book", a relic from when I was younger and much more diligent. Doing a year or two or three or four I used to write two pages on every book I read in a book entitled "Bokboken" (The Book Book, and I even created a website based on it, "The Library"), and I was quite surprised when I realized yesterday how much I actually wrote in this book. The sad thing is that I can't find the first such book I filled. I'm really hoping it's hidden somewhere and not lost forever. This second book contains 164 reviews, on 328 pages... numerated, and with an additional index so that I can easily find the book I'm looking for. The reviews date from the 28th of January 2004 to the 10th of August in 2006, with very little posts from my time in France (autumn 2004-summer 2005). Before and after that the average time span between reviews is two days. And now I'm struggling to read one book a week.

The reason I wanted to find this book again was to find out what I wrote about the Fountainhead back then. I was quite conscious of the fact that my opinion of books changed over time, so I wanted to preserve my instant impressions so as not to be fooled into believing I liked or disliked a certain book later on. Reading these "reviews", I realize how severe a critic I was back then. And how absolutely right I was about how opinions change over time. Upon completing the Fountainhead (on March 25th 2004), I wrote "Overall, I like this book, but not that very passionately, not as much as I could have liked it. [...] There is probably quite a lot to complain about concerning the literary quality and the characters. For example, Roark and Dominique seem far too similar. Both of them annoyed me in the beginning because of their indifference (which reminds me of some of today's youth), but as for Roark, this passed rather quickly. [...] But the feeling of disappointment is still there." Hah!

Well, I re-read The Secret History not that very long ago, and thought that I loved it just as much as the first time, but when I finished reading that one on the 23rd of May in 2004, I wrote "I'm in love. But just a bit. I love everything about this book, but still there is something that stops me from calling it a new favorite." Yet I call it an old favorite now.

I am going to try to pick up this habit of writing about books again.

Other than that, I have a iPad 2 at my disposal during the holidays, so naturally I'm spending far too much time playing Bejeweled ^^


  1. I am completely clueless about literature studies, but giving a glance to a bachelor's thesis I learned that "gender" is nowadays an important field in research and studies on literature: that is, how the sex of the writer (and sexual orientation?) affects his/her writing. By the way, the thesis is on Witold Gombrowicz, who is absolutely too modern and complicated for me, therefore probably perfect for you.

  2. I wish I had this kind of passion for books… Happy Birthday! :)

  3. I apologize for being so late.. but anyway.. Happy Birthday :) Thank you for writing - I like reading your posts - it makes me feel warmth somehow.. and when I read your notes I always begin to think what the next book I'm going to buy :)

  4. Thank you :)

    That's the spirit Vika! :)