Essential Reading: July 2014
We’re at the halfway point of the year and things are getting interesting reading-wise. I have read some interesting books, books that have either expanded my view on what fiction is or those that carried their genius with quiet dignity. On the other hand, I have read some books that have disappointed me and there are some that I have hated with a passion. Anyway, the status of my mid-year in reading will be for another post so let me just point out the books that I have read for June:
- Fairy Tale Fail by Mina Esguerra (1/5)
- The Graveyard by Marek Hlasko (4/5)
- The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy (5/5)
- A Dame to Kill For by Mark Miller (3/5)
I am quite disappointed with my reading this June since I have only read one book (Marek Hlasko’s The Graveyard) out of the five that I set out to read. However, on the bright side, Hlasko and Tolstoy compensated for the lack of pages by capitalizing on grand ideas with Hlasko elucidating on the futility of going against a communist state that has beaten its citizens to the point of disillusionment and paranoia while Tolstoy has written a philosophical novella on the apparent bleakness of death and how a man can find peace by searching for meaning in his life. Hlasko and Tolstoy had a combined page count that is just a little over 200 pages but the ideas that they have instilled in me cannot be measured.
On the other hand is Mina Esguerra’s Fairy Tale Fail, a train wreck if I ever saw one, a book that had me swearing off the Filipino Contemporary Romance genre because it is beset with so many problems that I’m having a headache just thinking about it. Mark Miller’s volume set in Sin City is a disappointment because I thought that it would be a great read instead of a middling one.
Anyway, enough about my June reads, here’s what I’m planning on reading for July:
- In Persuasion Nation by George Saunders – After winning the Folio Prize for his most recent collection, Tenth of December, 2014 is indeed the year of reading George Saunders. I have read Pastoralia and Civilwarland in Bad Decline which I have loved immensely so it’s not a hard decision to read another of his short story collections. Now, if only Riverhead Books would publish Tenth of December in the same format as Saunder’s previous three collections.
- The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez – Vasquez has won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award with this book but that’s not the most interesting thing about The Sounds of Things Falling, no, because the thing that intrigued me the most about this book is that Vasquez, a native of Colombia, has been called the anti-thesis of his fellow Colombian and Nobel laureate, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, since Vasquez’s work is considered as a reaction against Marquez’s Magical Realism.
- The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes – Highly recommended by my friends and that is the only reason that I need but it is also compared favorably with Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day as both books tackle the same themes.
A Tale of Two Cities is supposed to be included in the picture and in the list above but my copy is still being delivered and will arrive in a few days along with four other books.
That’s all, really. I just hope that I can stick to my reading plan this July and not divert my attention to some other books like the Paul Auster, Richard Yates, Mary McCarthy and John Green that are in the background, scheming to steal my attention away from their kin.