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Wednesday Waking Dreams

What I've Finished Reading

The Group is magnificent. I loved it 100% of the time. I think I want to defer talking about it for a bit, but it is just my cup of sludgy journalistic tea. Funny, uncomfortable, cruel and kind, hyper-vivid and intimate in the way only a novel can be.

And my plan to read How Far Can You Go? after Titus Groan was a bust, because I finished it in about a day and I'm hardly another fifty pages into Titus Groan, but oh well. It was good. I was a little wary of David Lodge because in his "Art of Writing Fiction" he 1) used a passage of his own writing for the "humor" chapter that 2) did not make me laugh, but How Far Can You Go? was completely engrossing and surprisingly earnest. The back-cover copy makes it sound a little more cynical than it is. Actually, it strikes an impressive balance between sympathy and humor, culminating in a description of the ill-fated Catholics for an Open Church Paschal Festival (complete with liturgical dance and speaking in tongues) in which every eccentricity has been carefully accounted for with some character's personal, often painful experience.

Also read in a day because I couldn't stop once I'd started: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

What I'm Reading Now

Titus Groan has a plot now, sort of! At least, the kitchen-boy Steerpike has escaped from the room he was locked in, climbed all over the walls of the castle, and tumbled into Fuchsia's private tower hideaway, and is now squirming his way into a cushy non-kitchen job with Prunesquallor and his wife.

Unfortunately, my interest in Steerpike has withered a little now that he's begun to talk. But I love Fuchsia more every time she appears. This is not really a book about characters you love -- it's more like a hilarious nightmare based on several creepy animated movies mashed together -- but I can't help myself. She's a spoiled, neglected, aggressively lonely, fierce and pitiful teenager. She and Kay from The Once and Future King should be best friends, so the adults around each of them will have someone to blame.

What I'm Going to Read Next

Got The Light and the Dark (next up in C. P. Snow's eleven-novel sequence!) from the library, so that's waiting to go. And I've got this book about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake I've been meaning to read. I'm hoping to use my Christmas vacation to plow through my TBR pile, at least the part of it that takes place after Yuletide fics are due.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
lost_spook
Dec. 2nd, 2015 09:19 pm (UTC)
This is not really a book about characters you love -- it's more like a hilarious nightmare based on several creepy animated movies mashed together -- but I can't help myself. She's a spoiled, neglected, aggressively lonely, fierce and pitiful teenager.

I've never read TG or Gormenghast (I did try once, but it wasn't for me), but I did watch the BBC adaptation from about 2000 or whenever it was, and Fuchsia is what I mostly remember from that - and your description is pretty apt. Everybody is so unlikeable! (Which I could kind of go with in the TV version, but I can never manage that in a book.)
evelyn_b
Dec. 3rd, 2015 02:11 am (UTC)
Hah, I love your appropriate icon.

I didn't know there was a TV version! It's definitely not something I would have picked to adapt for TV; it's so language-driven. I guess there are lots of opportunities for grotesque character design and weird visuals! But it's grotesque in a way that seems very dependent on language to me. Maybe I should check out the TV adaptation when I'm done.
lost_spook
Dec. 3rd, 2015 08:39 pm (UTC)
It's been a while, but, yes, I think grotesque character design and weird visuals sounds about right! I can't say how it works as an adaptation, though.
sallymn
Dec. 3rd, 2015 03:06 am (UTC)
Titus Groan! I love it, and even more love the second in the trilogy, Gormenghast. The language is as much a character in Peake's books as the people, it lives.

I'll be fascinated to hear what you think of Gormenghast when you get there.
evelyn_b
Dec. 3rd, 2015 02:56 pm (UTC)
It really does! I'm enjoying it a lot so far!
scripsi
Dec. 3rd, 2015 01:46 pm (UTC)
I read one of David Lodge's books once and found it enjoyable, but never felt the need to read anythingelse by him.

We seem to read Titus Groan at the same pace. :D
evelyn_b
Dec. 3rd, 2015 03:01 pm (UTC)
:D Titus Groan seems to be imposing a slower pace on me. I like it a lot, but so far there's nothing in it that propels me forward -- I don't mean this in a bad way. You're up to about the same place, then? Chatty Steerpike meeting the Prunesquallors?
scripsi
Dec. 3rd, 2015 03:43 pm (UTC)
Yes, I like it, but it doesn't invite a rushed reading. And yes, that's where I am. :)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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