BOOKLOVE: July 2014

How does one start a post like BOOKLOVE when you’ve done it a dozen times? It’s quite hard to begin writing these posts but one must just trudge through it, I suppose. I’ve been hoarding books from New Directions Publishing lately because (1) they publish interesting books and (2) it is quite hard to get a copy of their books over in the Motherland.

Anyway, here are the books that I bought last July:


  • Two Crocodiles by Fyodor Dostoevsky and Felisberto Hernandez – Dostoevsky is Dostoevsky. He is a writer who had rendered me speechless and dumbfounded when I read or at least tried to read Crime & Punishment during my years in high school. I didn’t even finish the book because of its density, not only in words but also in meaning. I shall conquer him one day and this may be the place to start. Hernandez, on the other hand, I know nothing about. I have never heard of his name nor have I encountered him in my forays into Latin American literature. However, when I read a blurb from Gabriel Garcia Marquez saying that he wouldn’t be a writer if not for this obscure author, I stood in full attention.
  • Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau – Exercises in Style is without a doubt one of the most inventive works of fiction. In this book are 99 retellings of a single anecdote (about a man witnessing an altercation during his commute) and told in different ways, each stylistically different from the other.
  • The Whispering Muse by Sjon – Another unfamiliar book by an unfamiliar writer that I bought just because an author whose works I love made a blurb for the book in question. This time the blurb is written by David Mitchell: ‘The Whispering Muse is a quirky, melodic, ticklish, seamlessly-translated, lovingly-polished gem of a novel. Sjón’s work deserves space on any self-respecting bookshelf of European fiction.’  
  • The Skin by Curzio Malaparte – A work set during the beginning of the end of the 2nd World War, The Skin is about Malaparte’s work as a liaison to an American officer during the American’s occupation of the city of Naples. Malaparte highlights the squalor and brutality that was rampant during the war’s inhuman moments. On my end, I’m intrigued by the cynical and violent tone of the book.
  • Nightwood by Djuna Barnes – Cited as a modernist masterpiece and one of the most difficult books ever written, Nightwood looks unassuming due to its length. However, it’s dense language and poetic narrative is said to be the main reason why this Nightwood is difficult to read. I do like a challenging read, however, and I look forward to the day when I shall conquer Djuna Barnes’ masterpiece.

Also, I bought these two plays by Tennessee Williams from our local thrift store. Plus points because both are published by New Directions.


That’s about it. Til next time then.

4 Responses to “BOOKLOVE: July 2014”
  1. Tin says:

    Did not have much luck with Crime and Punishment too (and it kinda put me off of trying anymore Russian Lit.) because as you said, the language is pretty dense (and apparently, my brain is dense-er. Nyahaha.XD)

    I am quite interested in Exercises in Style and The Whispering Muse, will put those on my list.

    And oh, A Street Car Named Desire? The old movie with Marlon Brando? Saw that one way back in college. Did not know it came from a book.

    • I have never touched another doorstopper written by Russians ever since Crime and Punishment. However, I have gained a strange affinity towards Russian works of shorter length particularly those of Tolstoy, Bulgakov, and Sorokin. Check them out!

      I didn’t know that it was a movie! Hahaha. I only know it by reputation though.

  2. I’ve always been intrigued by Queneau’s Exercises in Style. I wonder what you think about it.

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