Books

Thoughts: The Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View, by Ellen Meiksins Wood

One good thing about my arbitrary rule-driven reading list is that I’ve found myself reading a lot of stuff I never would have ordinarily looked at. A bad thing is that I find myself having to share my terrible opinions on stuff I know nothing about. So let’s talk about capitalism. Sort of.

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Thoughts: Georgy Girl, by Margaret Forster

This was a short and deceptively easy read that’s stuck with me. Tight plot, characters that are unlikeable on paper but compelling in your mind, vividly drawn. This is the only Forster I’ve read, but she seemed to be able to write novels effortlessly (check her bibliography) and yet to be haunted by this single one. I felt a bit bad for putting it on my list when I learned how she’d tried to outrun it. Well, it’s done now.

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Thoughts: Basti, by Intizar Husain, translated by Frances W. Pritchett

Oh man. I’m warning you now that this is going to be a big rant about translation, but I promise I will get some thoughts on the book in there as well.

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Thoughts: Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

Excuse the lateness… I’ve been planning for NaNo, and now that I’m mostly all plotted up, it’s time to clear my backlog of bookthoughts before the madness begins.

Modern Romance isn’t my usual thing (as I say about pretty much every book I read…), being not only non-fiction, but more sociology-oriented than the other non-fiction I’ve dipped my toes in, PLUS about finding love, which is something I like to think I’ve got down (two years married woooo!). But a friend recommended it, and on the list it went! Enjoy my thoughts below.

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Thoughts: Oublier Palerme, by Edmonde Charles-Roux

I thought this book, the last in my little run of French books on my TBR, would be, if not easy, then a nice, gentle comedown after the uncomfortable fascination of Le Roi des Aulnes. It… sort of was?

You know how you can read a book in your native tongue and understand the nuances, understand the tricks the author is using and what they’re trying to accomplish and how it works? How you can analyse word choice and symbolism and appreciate beautiful abstract statements that touch deep parts of you that more straightforward language can’t seem to reach? You know what it’s like to read a proper classic and really appreciate top-class writing?

Now I know, deep in my heart, that these are things that every other language in the world can evoke. But seeing it done is a whole other thing altogether. Not quite understanding it is a weird feeling, like a kind of awe.

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Thoughts: Le Roi des Aulnes, by Michel Tournier

This one almost beat me, in several ways. Firstly, it’s in French. Secondly, it’s long. Thirdly, it’s full of abstract thoughts and made up concepts. Fourthly, it’s intensely weird.

Disclaimer: I know for a fact I missed a lot and probably misunderstood a lot as well. I didn’t have time to research all of the specialised vocabulary about pigeon-keeping, deer-hunting, WWII military vocab and whatnot. If I’m talking nonsense, then say so! Let’s talk!

This is going to be a weird review to write, because I wasn’t expecting to like this book – and the first quarter or so did its best to dissuade me. But by the end… I… liked it? “Like” is the wrong word. But it’s stuck with me.

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Thoughts: The Casual Vacancy, by J. K. Rowling

I think this is what the cool kids call “late to the party”. We’ve had this on the shelf for a while and ever since we got it I’ve been meaning to read it. And as Spuggy got to the end of the book he was reading on the Kindle, I thought I may as well end my off-list detour with a bang. Crazy spoilers lie within. I’m warning you, if you want to read this book, don’t read my aimless ramblings on it.

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Thoughts: The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Almost caught up now. It took me this long to realise that while Spuggy was borrowing the Kindle, we actually have a book that’s on my TBR list! So I read it. Spoiler warning etc.

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Thoughts: Intelligence, by Stuart Ritchie

Well. I’ve been all very smug about my posh non-fiction reading, and when I read Intelligence something happened that had been going to happen right from the start, sooner or later:

I read something that disagreed with something I’d earlier read.

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Thoughts: The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth about Healthy Eating, by Anthony Warner

I’ve managed to get through a good few of our physical bookshelf books while Spuggy’s been borrowing my Kindle! This one was personally recommended by him.

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