Recent Reads #3
Well, hello and welcome to a long overdue third installment of Recent Reads! Thus far my reading list primarily consisted of books on linguistic theories and Bitcoins, however I managed to sneak in a few lighter reads along the way.
// John Williams
Marking its beginning at the end of the nineteenth century, the novel tells the story of a seemingly ordinary man named William Stoner. Despite being born into a poor family of farmers, Stoner quickly realizes his passion for English literature and fully embraces the life of a scholar. As the years go by, he encounters a series of trials and tribulations, both in his personal and professional life. While this is a linear novel that lacks any mindblowing twists and turns, it still is a gripping and thoroughly enjoyable work of fiction, which perfectly captures the unfulfilled hopes and small tragedies of an average person leading an average life.
// Aziz Ansari
I've never thought that I'd enjoy any of Aziz Ansari's work, let alone a non-fiction book on contemporary romance, but this insightful and well-researched read has proven me completely wrong. Adding a humorous touch to an otherwise serious subject, Ansari dissects modern relationships, exploring every step we take towards finding love and lasting companionship. Whether you're in a committed relationship or enjoying the single life, this book will prove to be an interesting read with a few handy pointers along the way.
// Kurt Vonnegut
Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five follows the sporadic life of Billy Pilgrim, as he witnesses the horrors of World War II, gets abducted by aliens and, amidst it all, tries to lead a normal life as a successful optometrist. Told through a skillful blend of dark humor and irony, the tone of the story switches between harrowing and absurd, utilizing the one-dimensional characters as different facets of the war. For me, the language was simultaneously the book's strength and weakness, with occasional repetitiveness clouding the narrative and, at times, becoming simply annoying.
// Miranda July
The First Bad Man centers around Cheryl, a neurotic 40-something, who is obsessed with her colleague, a philandering senior named Philip. Aside from that, she also sees a baby boy, whom she met in her childhood, reincarnated in other people's babies. When Cheryl's bosses ask her to house their 21-year-old daughter Clee, her life is suddenly turned upside down. While the description of the book sounds pretty odd, it doesn't even scratch the surface of how bizarre it truly is. It feels like the book is trying too hard to be quirky, mixing humor with disturbing descriptions and detailing the sexual fantasies of a deeply troubled woman. While I'm all for artistic expression and unconventional writing, there were moments where it felt downright disgusting and unnecessary.
What have you been reading recently? Be sure to share your recommendations!