The Books of My Numberless Dreams

Do I remember how to do this?

Posted on: November 30, 2009

Testing, testing.

I’m back in Jamaica at least for a year or two, maybe forever. If my family has its way I’ll be back in foreign this time tomorrow.

Jamaican men are radically different from every other kind. I forgot how much.

I still read. I finished Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses a month or so ago. It defies a plot description and easy summation. At present I can say nothing more than it bedazzled, impressed, confused, amused, bewildered, pummeled….Good God are his other novels anything like it? Rushdie comes across as such a staid literary statesman these days and the reactions to his latest works never gave me the impression that the novels were bonkers in the most delightful way possible. (Except James Wood…”hysterical realism” was it? Ha ha.) Anyway, it cries out for a reread.

My blogging muscles are not yet fit enough to do a sensible summary of recent readings so I shall only mention what is presently on my plate and to what I am anticipating.

Reading

Orlando by Virginia Woolf – At the beginning I vacillated between “charming” and “trivial”. Now I’m at “hilarious, more to think about than readily apparent”. Why isn’t Woolf’s humour more heralded or am I weird? I’d try so many more of these Woolfs and Rushdies if critics eased off stressing their importance and highlighted the funny bits.

Rashomon and Other Stories by Akutagawa Ryonusuke – I knew nothing of Akutagawa’s theme or writing style before this collection. His short stories, at least the earlier ones that created his reputation, are written like fables. Very engrossing, intricately structured, and often end inconclusively. The Japanese authors I’ve read so far always build their stories on characters facing particular moral problems. How they react, what they decide forces one to consider not only the society mores of the time but one’s own personal philosophy and what it means…to be human I guess.

Here I stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton – One of my mother’s. I tried to read this when I was very young, perhaps 11 or so. I was vaguely interested in the different Protestant movements after the nun at my catholic prep school told me that my church (Anglican) formed from a royal divorce.

My brain’s a bit better at handling the content now.

Michael Manley biography – The author’s name escapes me. Manley was a former Jamaican Prime Minister both revered and despised, largely depending on how you feel about socialism and the word “comrade”.

To Come

I am dying to get my hands on Sarah Hall’s latest. Gimme gimme gimme. Besides that I need to get to those new Coetzees. Also Kwame Dawes’ poetry and Bob Marley book.

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17 Responses to "Do I remember how to do this?"

OMG! I was thinking about you the other day. I thought you fell off the face of the earth! Glad to have you back.

Welcome back! :D Book blogging has gone a little crazy since you’ve been gone, so make sure not to freak out about it, lol. I’m so excited to see you posting again! (I’ve been doing the Caribbean Lit Challenge this year and thinking of you with every book.)

Hey, wow, welcome back. When I saw your comment recently at the ol’ WE I was hopeful.

Woolf, when she wants to be – in her book reviews, or her letters, for example – is hilarious. A scream, sometimes.

Yes, some of Rushdie’s other books (Midnight’s Children, certainly) are just like that.

Hurray! I’m so glad you’re back, Imani.

Okay… find a book that gets what makes Jamacan men so different… a book. So it’ll be litchur, not gossip.

but TELL us, damn it.

Missed your quirky spot-on target take on on stuff. Welcome back to the blurgishfeer.

sputter .. sputt .. “spot-on-target take on stuf”… .. with 2 ef’s

So very glad to see you back. Jamaica! Like Jacob, I want to know what’s up with Jamaican men. Just, you know, when you have some time. I loved Orlando — a romp, I think Woolf called it. xoxoxo

Amanda A. I actually feel more solidly planted than I have in a long time. Hopefully this will translate into more and better blogging :).

Julio thanks!

Eva I saw a few mentions of that challenge around the blogs when I began to dip my toes in. I’m flattered that you thought of me! I missed all of your blogs so much. Am a bit concerned about all the crazy changes in book blogging…someone fill me in. ;)

Amateur Reader yes, that was a positive sign although I always kept up with your blog via RSS. :)

I thought I’d try Shame before Midnight as I’ve tried the latter before and found it difficult to get past the first page…

SFP yes, I’m pretty excited about it and excited about catching up with all of your blogs.

Jacob R. Ha! Well, I could try to tie it in to the Dawes’ novel I read recently. We’ll see how it goes ;). I missed your cogent posts too.

bloglily! Woolf’s description of “Orlando” is actually on-point. I’m kinda allergic to the word because of book blurb overuse…but it works this time.

Yeah, I know you all want the gossip lol.

Yay! Imani’s back! Does this mean you are done with school and everything? Woolf has a fantastic sense of humor. I’ve only read Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and the experience was much like the one you had with Satanic Verses.

Welcom back, Imani!

The only Rushdie I’ve read is The Enchantress of Florence, which I thought delightful, full of adventure and joie de vivre. I’ll definitely read more of him some day.

I had trouble with a Woolf book years ago and have had a block against her ever since. Tell me more about the humor though, and I might try her again.

Thanks Dorothy!

Stefanie technically I was sort of done with school and everything but because of the job I got out here I’ll be getting another masters degree because, you know, can’t have too many grad degrees…

So I switch from law & neuroscience to international law & economics. Someth

Isabella thanks :). that’s an encouraging description of his newer stuff. Which Woolf book did you read? I tried Dalloway and became instantly infatuated.

Welcome back, imani! How lovely to have you blogging again! That’s a great list of books you have there – looking forward now to hearing your comments about all of them!

Very excited to see you are posting again! And can’t wait to hear more of your thoughts on Rashomon.

I read Rushdie for the first time this year and was equally wowed, bedazzled and confused. I read Midnight’s Children, but think I should have started with Satanic Verses…I have a few others waiting for me on the shelf.

Welcome Back!

Hey! I’m so pleased you’re back – I’ve missed reading your posts! Satanic Verses is such a strange and amazing book, I’m glad you liked it. When I read my first Rushdie novel, I was totally shocked at how insane and funny it was, not at all what I was expecting.

I completely agree with you about how classics are stressed too much as being important – the reason they attained their high place in literature is because they are worth reading! (and they had to be read by someone other than professors at one point or another, or how would they have survived?). I remember Orlando as being very witty as well, but I don’t know if all of Woolf’s writing is.

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