Essential Reading: April 2015

My blog is barely alive these past few months with reviews being practically nonexistent and my BOOKLOVE feature disappearing into the thin air. The only thing that’s really keeping my blog alive is this monthly post that I do at the start of each month in order to chronicle my reading. Anyway, just like always, I hope that I could get my book reviewing habits back on track. In the meantime, here’s a recap of the books I’ve read last March:

  • The Sculptor by Scott McCloud (4/5)
  • The Red Notebook by Paul Auster (4/5)
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (5/5)
  • Amsterdam by Ian McEwan (4/5)
  • Speedboat by Renata Adler (5/5)
  • A Very Easy Death by Simone de Beauvoir (4/5)
  • The Emerald Light in the Air by Donald Antrim (5/5)

There’s no bewaring the ides of March for me since all of the books I’ve read last month were fantastic. The Sculptor is just what I like from graphic novels, those that use the form as a method to tell a compelling story rather than wallow in cliche and repetitiveness like what some graphic novels are wont to do. The Red Notebook is a treat for a Paul Auster fan like me as it gave me a glimpse into the workings of one my favorite authors and his personal relationship with one of his most prevalent themes, fate. The God of Small Things is another masterpiece of colonial literature that captured me both intellectually and emotionally. Amsterdam, although not McEwan’s best, showed that he can still write beautifully even if he shifts to tragicomedy. Speedboat jarred me at first with its unconventional style but it eventually got me on its side with its ruminations on life and its myriad tragedies. A Very Easy Death bored me at first with its flat narrative but then it suddenly became a poignant exploration of death that had me close to tears at its end. The Emerald Light in the Air presents the argument that Donald Antrim may be a better short story writer than a novelist with his short stories that explore the lives of mentally-troubled people just trying to make this way in this world.

April, will you be cruel? Here’s what I have in store for what is dubbed by TS Eliot as the cruelest month:

Photo Apr 07, 12 59 23 PM

  • Senselessness by Horatio Castellanos Moya – I had a strong urge to read this book after I read the first sentence a few weeks ago which was: I am not complete in the mind. For me, that was a perfect opening line and it had me intrigued especially since the novel is about a journalist who was asked by the Catholic Church to polish and edit the testimonies of Indian villagers that survived a slaughter by the military.
  • High Fidelity by Nick Hornby – Full disclosure: I already finished the book two days ago. This is our book club’s book for April 2o15, our 5th anniversary.
  • Tyrant Banderas by Ramon Del Valle-Inclan – Said to have inspired writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez (The Autumn of the Patriarch) and Augusto Roa Bastos (I, The Supreme) in writing their own books about dictators, Tyrant Banderas is about the titular Santos “Tyrant” Banderas, a dictator in an unnamed Latin American country where chaos is beginning to take hold as a revolution to oust Banderas is in motion.
  • After Henry by Joan Didion – Although Joan Didion is a skilled fictionist, she is most well-known for her non-fiction particularly her essays. After Henry is one of her essay collections and, although it is not as well know as Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album, it has some of the more important essays that Didion has written in her career like Insider Baseball and Sentimental Journeys. 
  • Persepolis 1 & 2 by Marjane Satrapi – Considered as one of the more important graphic novels ever written, Persepolis is an autobiographical work about the author’s childhood and subsequent early adult years in both pre and post-Islamic Revolution Iran.

Aside from the books mentioned above, I’m also trying to read one poem everyday from the poetry books that I have since April is National Poetry Month after all. So far, I’ve only read a few poems from Pablo Neruda’s The Captain’s Verses but I’ll try and read other poets before April’s end.

4 Responses to “Essential Reading: April 2015”
  1. Book Beat says:

    I saw Marjane Satrapi at the Chicago Humanities Festival last year. She is so cool! This is a great tbr lis for this month!

  2. Hope you can keep on writing, even if only bits and pieces like this. Been wanting to read Senselessness and Tyrant Banderas for some time but don’t have copies yet. So I’d like to hear from others what theu think. Anyway, this got me inspired to do monthly reading updates (starting thus weekend).

  3. Monique says:

    5/5 for Speedboat! I can’t wait to read it. 🙂

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