August- Monthly Recap

This post is all about what was posted this month on Confessions of a Readaholic.

Book Reviews

            

Guest Post

At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien by Emmie

Book Lists

A Glimpse of the World with Detectives

Other Articles

Buying an EReader, Worth?

Anne Lammot on Writing

BOOK REVIEW: Spock Must Die! by James Blish

Spock Must Die by James Blish is the first book in the Star Trek Adventure series originally published by Bantam. The world of Star Trek is humongous. There are different series in which this enormous world is divided. For a week I was confused to start reading which series or any particular book. My previous knowledge of Star Trek world is limited to the two movies which have came lately and are directed by J. J. Abrams. I know what an enterprise is, I knew the main characters and of course the Klingon race. I haven’t watched the original telly shows but I was confident enough to start an expedition.

The first original Star Trek novel was published by James Blish in 1970, Spock Must Die. My experience with science fiction is limited and I have read some Star Wars books before. One thing I did not like about Star Wars is that the story is limited only to the adventure which star wars try to possess, the story of the twins, the father-son relationship. What I mean to say is that there is little science in that fiction. I think it should be considered more of a fantasy series and less of science fiction. One excellent reason to read Star Trek is that a reader will find similarities to metaphysical quandaries and concepts of physics and philosophy at the same time. Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: The Damned United by David Peace

When it comes to football, especially when it comes to books on football, David Peace’s The Damned United.  Football is not only just a game, it is world’s most watched sport. It is not just a game of ninety minutes and between twenty-two matured men running after a ball of 8.65 inches in diameter, it is a lot more than that. It is excitement, sportsmanship, glory, emotions, and history.

The tale of The Damned United is a bit more exciting than the game itself. It is about Brian Clough’s time as a manager at Leeds United. Forty four days. In 1974, both the club Leeds United and the football manager Brian Clough were famous and achieving a lot in the game, sometimes overachieving, but both were eccentric in their own ways. David Peace writing makes this book a passion both for himself and the readers, as he represents this sport passionately.

The book is split into two distinct sections which run side by side throughout. One follows Brian Clough’s transition from the end of his playing career, cut criminally short by injury, via Hartlepool and through to turning Derby County into a domestic and European force. Continue reading

GUEST BLOG- At Swim-Two-Birds by Emmie

At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien

(post by Emmie)

How would it feel to be a literary character?

I’ll admit, At Swim-Two-Birds wasn’t an easy book to read. The first time I tried it I only got halfway before I gave up. I hardly understood a word of it. Nevertheless, I would like to argue that it is an amazing novel. It took me a very thorough second attempt (differently coloured pencils in hand) to unravel the ways in which this book plays with literary conventions, crosses intertextual boundaries and blurs different layers of reality.

At Swim-Two-Birds is a novel of many levels. It begins with an unnamed student who enjoys inventing stories. He creates the author Dermot Trellis. Trellis then starts writing a story of his own, for which he creates his main villain John Furriskey. Furriskey, however, also has a life outside of the story that Trellis writes. He lives in a cottage with the woman he loves and isn’t a villain at all. Trellis orders all of his characters to live with him in order to keep an eye on them, but they drug him so he falls asleep and they can do whatever they want. The story folds upon itself even further when one of the characters begins to write a story about Trellis… Continue reading

Buying an EReader, Worth?

I am too fond of reading books in an electronic format. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, Hermen Hesse’s Siddhartha, My Inventions by Nikola Tesla, and A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking are some of the books I have managed to read on my smartphone using an ereader application this month. I have been in the habit of reading books on a smartphone since my teenage days and I find it quite portable and accessible at the same time. Major reason being I am carrying my phone almost everywhere and when I get time, I can sneak in a chapter or two anytime.

In recent days I have been thinking of buying an E-Reader, a proper one. The reason being is that, since I have started working, I have developed this habit of checking emails, getting notifications and checking them at the moment and these things usually leads to a distraction and many a times I lose my focus over the text. It is happening in a vigorous frequency in past six months such that I am unable to cope with my reading time. I have tried putting my phone on airplane mode, but since it is the only mean of communication I have, I have realised that I cannot do that for more than an hour a day. Anyone’s calling at any time and there is something to lose sometimes.  Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Notes From Underground is not doubt one of the most challenging books I have read in years. It needs a reader’s attention from the page one and till the last page. It must be read when you aware that you are conscious and you are reading the book. This book needs time absorb in a reader’s intellect. It has the power of to kick you in your guts straightaway from the first line of the book. The narrator introduces himself as a man who lives underground and refers to himself as a ‘spiteful’ person whose every act is dictated by his spitefulness. Many people would say that Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novella marks the beginning of the modernist movement in literature. Gustav Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis are some other contenders.

It is a two part novella and addresses the reader directly. First person narration is contributed by a forty something man, a retired mid-level government bureaucrat, who ruminates in his poor apartment. If somebody remember reading Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, they will some similarities between both of the work. Both works manage to share a solitary, restless, irritable protagonist and a feeling for the feverish.

This narrator is portrayed through Dostoyevsky’s words as a sensitive, intelligent, idealistic and morally paralysed. In the first part of the novel the protagonist, after introducing himself, complains about everything: industrial capitalism, scientific rationality, and any sort of predictive, mathematical model of human behaviour. He points out that some people love things which are not to their best advantage. His objection continues that the scientific trend is trying to define a way for a society that will function for man’s best advantage and the theory will prove a man to be a rational being and in this utopian society not a single man would need to suffer but the narrator argues that without suffering there will be nothing left that of a man’s desires. With the scientific way, the freedom to choose life in one’s own way also subsides. Continue reading

Anne Lamott On Writing

Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some instructions on writing and life is among my favourite books on writing. It’s both practical and profound, light- reading, witty, and humorous at the same time. Published in 1994, this book still has a lot to offer to anyone with a creative pursuit and I consider it as timeless and a valuable piece of written words, exhibited rationally.

Lamott starts on considering writing as a sense making mechanism:

One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around.

Lamott, throughout the book take into consideration that who ever reading this book is a part of her class or a workshop and pursue this type of narrative throughout the book, till she has dismissed the class. She begins her class by advising her students on where to focus when starting to write:

‘I don’t even know where to start,’ one will wail.

Start with your childhood, I tell them. Plug your nose and jump in, and write down all your memories as truthfully as you can.

[…]

Start by writing down every single thing you can remember from your first few years in school. Start with kindergarten. Try to get the words and memories down as they occur to you. Don’t worry if what you write is no good, because no one is going to see it. move on first grade, to second, to third.

[…]

Write down everything you can remember about every birthday or Christmas or Seder, or Easter or whatever, every relative who was there. Write down all the stuff you swore you’d never tell another soul.

[…]

Scratch around for details: what people ate, listened to, wore—

Continue reading