Friday, April 15, 2011

You Can't Possibly Read That Much, the Librarian Said

You can't possibly read that much, the librarian said.


I spend most of the day translating, something I'm not quite used to do yet. When I finish it, I don't really have much strength to stare at the screen, either to watch videos, play games or read blogs or something. So i read books. The paper ones.

I went to the library on Tuesday, and took the charming pile of books you see on the picture. The librarian told me I couldn't possibly read all of them in twenty days. I told her I'd return the ones I've read and re-borrow those I haven't managed to read. She agreed to that.

Me and librarians. Librarians who don't get it: I read, I read a lot, and I read quickly. One would expect more from the librarians; then again, this same librarian called Twilight a beautiful, beautiful book at the time I took Twilight, some books by de Lilo and a book by Doris Lessing. A great American writer, a Nobel prize winner, and she tells me the Twilight (yes, the silly one with the sparkling vampires) is beautiful?

Oh well.

The books I took on Tuesday: Sputnik Sweetheart and Dance, Dance, Dance by Haruki Murakami, Twilight #2 and Twilight #3 by Stephenie Meyer, Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe and Ask the Dust by John Fante. The Twilight is to see what all the fuss is about, the rest of them is for pleasure. So far, I've read Woman in the Dunes and Sputnik Sweetheart, and I'm currently reading Ask the Dust.

Woman in the Dunes is a fascinating book about a Japanese man who goes to a remote village in the sand to look for some sand bugs, and the villagers capture him to help them remove the sand, because the erosion is the constant danger there, and the government does nothing to help. He is placed in a house in the hole in the sand with a thirty-year-old widow, to help her. He wants to escape, he's trying to find a way to get out of there, but at the same time, he's eroding, just like his surroundings. It's hard to describe this one; what goes on is bizarre, and the tone of the novel is surreal. A great read.

Sputnik Sweetheart is an unusual book -- which is quite usual for Murakami. It starts as a weird love triangle -- a young man is in love with his best friend, a pretty girl who likes him as a friend but falls in love with an older woman, and while the woman likes the girl, something weird happened to her fourteen years ago, she doesn't feel whole and cannot return love. And then things start to get weird -- I'm not going to spoil it for you here.

So far I've read about a third of the Ask the Dust. It's about the author's alter ego, a writer wannabe Arturo Bandini, who is trying to survive in LA and to finally sell some stories. Charles Bukowski loved this book, and so far it looks good (heh, us writers writing and reading about writers), so I guess I'll enjoy that one too.

And unless something prevents me, yes, I'll read them all within twenty days. And I've already noted the books I plan to borrow next.

In case you didn't notice: I'm a bookaholic. :)

6 comments:

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Now that's what I call a diverse selection of books! Happy reading! :)

angel011 said...

Thanks!

My selection of books is usually diverse, I like a lot of different things.

Kelly Hashway said...

Enjoy! My librarian greets me with a stack of books she thinks I'll like. I love her! She takes courses on children's literature so she's always up on which books made which list. I wish every librarian was like her.

angel011 said...

Lucky you! I wish I had a librarian like that.

Three librarians work in my local library right now, the best one does recommend authors like Murakami (if she thinks the reader would like them, since a lot of retired old ladies come and ask for a murder mystery to read before bed), but even she recommended me to watch the "No Country for Old Men" movie rather than to read the book (I didn't listen to that advice, and the book turned out to be great).

Cathy said...

How wonderful the diversity of your reading material. The next half dozen books on my list are: Sway - The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior (Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman), Istanbul (Orphan Pamuk), Mentors, Muses and Monsters - 30 Writers on the People Who Changed Their Lives (Edited by Elizabeth Benedict), The Paris Wife (Paula McLain), The Madonnas of Echo Park (Brando Skyhorse) and A Dream of Red Mansions (Tsao Hsueh-chin and Kao Ngo).

I love Kelly's comment that her librarian greets her with stacks of books. I've always dreamed of owning a bookstore and *prescribing* books for people based on my intuition of what they might need to read to help them sift through the challenges of life...

angel011 said...

I like your list.

Owning a bookstore and *prescribing* books to people sounds like too much work to me. :) I do, however, give books to people, the books I think might help them in some way, at least to make them smile.