Sunday, December 28, 2014

recents reads // hit and miss edition

A Widow for One Year by John Irving

I thought this book, characteristic of Irving, was incredibly well written but had painfully old fashioned ideas about gender. It grows even more obvious when he writes from the perspective of a woman, as is the case in this novel about author Ruth Cole. It follows her life, which begins with a somewhat melancholy childhood, through a successful literary career, and everything in between. He is a master of characterization, so it was still a pretty worthwhile read.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Dark, fascinating, and disturbing, this romp into the underworld of meatpacking in industrial revolution era Chicago is no easy read. However, it is a meaty book in more than just subject matter. It's topics are intense but make for interesting discussion. This book will probably turn you into a vegetarian-- read at your own risk.

Everywhere Antennas by Julia Delporte (pictured above)

This graphic novel revolves around the life of the narrator who begins to believe that atennas cause her a distinct sickness. The illustration style is so tender and distinct. It's kind of a trip and somewhat indescribable, and I really enjoyed it. I can already see it influencing my drawing style, it was that powerful.

Youth by J.M. Coetzee

This book. My goodness. The level of sexism in here was so painful and it was masked with an "I am an artiste so I can say exactly how I feel" kind of tone. After a point, it was just ridiculous. The entire short novel was based on the premise that to become an artist a man must find a woman who ignites his flame, and thus a woman can never be a true artist. I also did not care for his barrage of rhetorical questions. I was frustrated by this disappointing book.

Collected Poems by William Carlos Williams (pictured above)

I will gush about this collection on demand-- it was just so beautiful. What he does with spare words is so amazing, almost like painting with words.

There Must Be Some Mistake by Frederick Barthelme

This book is about a washed up architect and graphic artist, prone to sudden sadness, who lives in an apartment complex where a series of (potentially) unconnected tragedies take place. Despite the way I think that just made it sound, I actually found this book very down-to-earth, funny and honest. However, I think this tone took something away from the mystery element. It was a solid book that I would not rave about but would recommend. It has an easy conversational tone, that is enjoyable even though the plot itself fails to deliver.


  1. Nice :)

  2. Interesting books, I'm particularly intrigued by the graphic novel. And I definitely won't read Youth.

    1. it was great! and yeah probably a good move haha