What I Have Been Reading Lately

During the last two weeks I have been spending my time taking driving lessons, working at the regional newspaper and reading. I have been able to finish quite some books: a necessary after a crammed semester that left little room for any non-academic reads. Here’s a list of what I’ve been reading and how I felt about it:

1. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguiro. I picked up this book very cheaply at a one pound shop, when I was in Oxford. I was already a fan of Ishiguiro’s work and this novel didn’t prove to be less. The writing style in the book is the same familiar one as in his other novels, though the topic and theme are slightly different. Remains of the Day and A Pale View of Hills seemed the most concerned with history and tradition, while Never Let You Go is more futuristic. A little different, but just as enjoyable as his other work!

2. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I actually expected more of this book when I picked it up to read it. I just do not understand why so many people love this book. In my opinion the novel is quite simplistic and straightforward. I did not feel that the lessons it tries to bring across in a parable like way were very new. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with the life lessons that this book tries to teach, it just wasn’t that groundbreaking to me.

3. Travels through the Scriptorium by Paul Auster. When I finished reading this book, the end was quite stuck in my mind. It really got me thrown for a while. Throughout the novel, we follow Mr. Blank, who stays in one room the entire time (we don’t know if he is actually imprisoned or not). Throughout the story we learn a little about Mr. Blank through visits of different people, but clear answers are not given at all. I was waiting to figure out the answers on the questions of where Mr. Blank is and what’s going on, but this did not happen. Instead some kind of spooky, mysterious atmosphere is created, which I at first did not really know what to do with. Thinking it over, I think that Auster created a very interesting image into the mind of an author, dealing with questions of power and more.
Auster definitely got my attention with his writing style and I am planning to read more of his works. As I also found in other reviews, this novel is more interesting for Auster fans because it apparently contains a lot of references to characters of his previous works. I can imagine that the story itself becomes a lot more interesting with moments of recognition.

 

4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (part I). One of my friends was reading this book a few weeks ago, which reminded me that I should really read it too. When I shortly after found the total collection of five books with a large discount, I couldn’t resist buying it. And I am so glad I did. This book is simply hilarious. I love the humor in this book and I love how actually the human race is sort of mocked throughout.

 

 

 

5. The Hobbit by Tolkien. Some of my friends have been wanting me to start reading Tolkien for a while already and so I can finally make them happy by saying I read the Hobbit. And I was not disappointed. I think it is amazing he created this entire world. Next to that, the book also brought about different emotions at different parts of the book. It is a very well-rounded work and I just love Bilbo. Can’t wait to start reading the Lord of the Rings.

 

 

6. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams (part II). Before continuing my Tolkien journey, I really wanted to read another book in this series. Again, I had some very good laughs while reading. I cracked up reading about a cow in a restaurant that was produced with the want to be eaten by others and actually offered himself to the customers, with of course greatly astonished the two ‘earthlings’ present.

Currently reading: The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien. Yes, as I said I couldn’t wait to start the series, and so I did. Enjoying the start of a new journey!

So what are you reading lately? Any tips on what to read next?

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3 thoughts on “What I Have Been Reading Lately

  1. This post makes me so happy. Yay reading! I’m afraid I will have to steal some of these from you before the end of the year – I’d particularly love to read Never Let Me Go. I know I said this before, but I’m glad you enjoy Tolkien. I feel very protective of his writing. I’m all for critical debate and stuff but if people want to bash LotR, I’m out. I guess everyone has certain writers (/books, movies, bands, etc.) that are untouchable in their eyes and he’s one of mine. So I’m glad you too share the love!

    I’ve slowed down somewhat on my own frantic post-semester reading spree. I’m currently on David Sedaris’ When you are Engulfed in Flames, which is hilarious and a nicely low-key read. I also still have a few books lying around that I’m saving for when I go on vacation (the second and third book of The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy, as well as Everything Beautiful Began After, which seems all profound and grand and poetic – I’ve been itching to read it ever since I bought it a couple of months ago, and it seems like the perfect book to read on those lovely long summer nights).

    • Haha I am glad I made you happy with my post. And of course you can borrow some of the books before the end of the year 😉 I would really recommend you to read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. I am sure you would enjoy it too. I think you have that one at home though, right?
      And yes I am also very glad that I can join in the Tolkien love. I have to admit that I was kind of hesitant when I started reading (because everyone likes it so much), but I soon just had to drop this feeling and be swooped away.

      I really want to read some of your books still as well like those of Dave Eggers, David Sedaris and another one that I forgot the name of. Oh and have you read Boom already? We’ll have a “swop-date” at the end of summer 😉

      • Yep, tHGttG is on my on-hiatus shelf; we own the entire series, I believe! (In both English and Dutch. What can I say, my dad is/was a fan.)

        I think that even if you’re not a great fan of Tolkien’s writing style – a feeling you might experience for yourself once you encounter the so-manieth lengthy song or tree description in the trilogy… – you have to be in awe of the world he created. I think we can say that no writer before or since has created a universe of such scope and detail as he did, with languages, mythologies, everything. It’s insane.

        You have to read Zeitoun (and maybe You Shall Know our Velocity! and Boom!, definitely! I’m borrowing the David Sedaris book(s) from Sabienne, though. Oh and you should borrow my copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 – it’s a quick read and quite interesting. Burke mentioned it in Creative Writing once. …okay, yes, we definitely need a book swap date.

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