Unbelievable that this was written in 1972. But sadly, it is more true than ever:
"The argument was familiar. I had even made it myself, here and there, but I was beginning to sense something very depressing about it. How many more of these goddamn elections are we going to have to write off as lame but "regrettably necessary" hold actions? And how many more of these stinking, double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me and the fourty million I tend to agree with a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils?"
You can see, university started again for me, so there’s hardly any time for reading the books I want :(
But every other day or so I manage a couple of pages of Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone and every time I sit down and read it, I realise, just how much I have missed Thompsons writing! Although this book conatains some excerpts of books I have already read (Fear and Loathign in Las Vegas or on the Campain Trail ’72), I still love it!
Oh boy, I can’t yet tell whether it is the text itself or just the translation, but so far, this is exhausting. (and not in a good way)
Did you ever wonder, what the fourth Doctor is up to in his free time? Only recently did I discover that Tom Baker wrote this "grotesque masterpiece", which I figured is a children’s book.
I had some... let’s call it misunderstandings in the past when it came to children’s books. What I sometimes assumed to be a nice book for kids turned out to be not very nice at all. And here we go again.
The book starts with the sentence: "Saturday, June the 13th. And Robert Caligari is going to die today." So, what is going to happen is pretty clear, but I did not in the least anticipate the way Tom Baker is letting this boy die. Jesus. People die a lot more peaceful in most Zombie movies.
But anyways, The Boy who kicked pigs really is pretty funny (if you share my kind of humour). I guess I am just a little confused now, because I wasn’t expecting anything like this at all. *sigh* Tom Baker… always good for a surprise :-)
This is a long and extremely fascinating book and it was a somehow intense read, so brace yourselves, this is going to be a long review – because A true Novel deserves nothing less.
I want to start off by saying, that it would not do A true Novel justice to simply compare it with Brontës Wuthering Heights, because Mizumuras novel is so much more. In every way possible. There are so many layers, different perspectives to the story told (while each one really adds enriching details), different narrators and you get to experience the protagonists at various ages and stages in their lives. (And did I mention that the characters in A true Novel are actually likeable, unlike the array of depraved assholes Brontë is providing us with?)
This edition comes as a very nice looking two-volume set, although quality-wise it is not that thrilling - pretty bad binding (handle with care, guys, seriously) and oddly enough, the cover picture started to peel off on both of my volumes (it is somehow printed on a thin film which is – for some reason – not really sticking to the actual binding). Also, the paper is pretty shiny, which is very nice to look at and to touch, but it is annoying as hell if you try to read it due to the heavy shininess and reflections.
But I like the fact, that here and there some photographs of the locations are thrown into (after all, it is called A true Novel, isn’t it).
With the exception of the last ten pages, the whole of Volume I serves as exposition. Probably a third of it is just the prologue, in which it is explained, why the book got written in the first place (still, good writing, I really enjoyed reading it). The rest of it contains the excessive family background of pretty much everyone, partly going back up to three generations (maybe this detailedness in ancestry is a Japanese thing? I don’t know), again it was interesting to read, also thanks to the rich historical details about the social life in Japan during the war and post-war era of the 20th century.
In general I easily get bored reading about any family history, but not in this case. I could have gone on a couple of hundred pages more! I cannot judge the original text, but the translation is excellent and although I initially confused the families similar surnames, I still cared about the characters (whom I learned to distinguish by their first names). Anyways, after 430 pages of background information, the „actual“ plot starts, which brings us to the second volume.
And believe me, I was binge reading this one, having to actually force myself to stop and to go to sleep one time. Volume II focuses on the relationship between Taro and Yoko and this is where all the pretty things from Volume I are going to hell. The depiction of their relationship is simply great, as well as the dynamic between the triangle Yoko - Masayuki - Taro.
Beside the simple, yet still elegant way of writing and storytelling, I loved how Mizumura constantly threw some changes into the story. The characters develop naturally as they age, and you also get to experience the generation gap due to the shifting mindsets as time moves on.
As to the length of A true Novel. Yes, almost 900 pages is a lot, but I also think it is necessary to evoke a certain effect and to achieve the attachment to the characters. You spent so much time with Fumiko, Taro, the three Saegusa sisters, Yoko, Yusuke and even the alter ego of Mizumura that you just cannot help but starting to care for them. With the aging of the once young Saegusa sisters and the growing up of Yoko and Taro, every time Fumiko is visiting them during their summer vacation, it felt like I am visiting some old friends myself. But perhaps it was not only the book’s story itself that fascinated me, but also the tiny peek into Japanese culture that you get from reading it.
As a bottom line I would say that you definitely need to be committed when reading A true Novel, but it is rewarding beyond anything!
Alright. Halfway through, which means I just finished the first volume. Ten pages ago the plot finally started!
I have the feeling that the actual story is about to begin!
This book is printed on VERY shiny paper - that gives it a facy look and feel, but makes it a real pain in the arse to read most of the time.
Untill the last 5 pages I was confused whether this is an autobiographical introduction-sort-of prologue or the actual beginning of the novel (those last pages suggest it is the former). Still I think it might have been both.
For a so called "Prologue" this was definitely more detailed than expected, but worth it. Really good writing!
Richard III. Hm.
Well, I think the beginning is a bit slow (not to say tedious) and there are a lot of characters. Maybe this play is less confusing for the English, because they have more insight on the War of Roses and the whole history of their monarchy. But I have no idea, how all of those characters are related to each other and even after I read it up, I still forgot and/or confused a lot of them. Luckily for me, most of them died anyways throughout the play.
I had the feeling, that the quality of Richards character was declining as the play advanced. Which is really sad, because I think Richard III is a fascinating role. For me he started out multilayered and actually quite likeable but ended somewhat flat and one dimensional – and not that likeable any more. The same actually applies to the other characters as well.
By the way, does anyone here understand, why Lady Anne agrees to marry him? (I can somehow understand how one could fall for a younger Ian McKellen in the movie adaption, but seriously, I do not really understand that woman).
With the exception of the last act, most of the action is happening off stage, so you are left with the appearance of messengers reporting the latest executions from the Tower. The play itself focuses mainly on intrigues and scheming, which can of course also be entertaining.
The introduction to the play in my edition says, that there is a special relationship between Richard III and Macbeth. Well, I don’t see that one. Actually, Richard III reminded me a lot of Julius Ceasar, but hey, why not throw in a little bit of Macbeth as well?
My thoughts: "I have some 20 minutes time. Let’s just sit down and start by reading the prologue."
*me still reading*
and then I realised, the prologue is the first 167 pages...
You wanted to know, so have fun :)
1. Do you have a certain place in your home for reading?
In general, I prefer my sofa or my bed, but basically, where there is light, I read.
2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?
Random piece of whatever is lying around.
3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop read after a chapter / certain number of pages?
I prefer finishing a chapter once I started it, but if necessary, any paragraph will do.
4. Do you eat or drink while read?
No food. Sometimes I have coffee or tea next to me, but when I read, I forget about it anyways.
5. Multitasking: music or TV while reading?
6. One book at a time or several at once?
Several. The pile always keeps on growing.
7. Reading at home or everywhere?
8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?
In my head. I just laugh out loud sometimes.
9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?
No, come on. Buy the ticket, take the ride.
10. Barking the spine or keeping it like new?
My books have to be kept like new. Barking a book’s spine is like breaking my own.
11. Do you write in your books?
No way! Never. That’s what Post-its are for.
Tesla was definitely one of the greatest masterminds (if not THE mastermind) of all times. It is incredible, how much ahead of his time he was, and even though some of his beliefs turned out to be wrong or are outdated, in many concerns he is still pretty much ahead of our time as well.
I mean, imagine the first half of the 20th century, and Tesla is talking about wireless data transmission and interplanetary communication!
This book is just one of six in this incredible edition containing many of his writings and essays. It started with a couple of autobiographical essays or articles about his childhood, how he found out that he wanted to become an engineer, his studies and his first major inventions.
I did not fully understand everything, but still, it was fascinating and super interesting! What absolutely stunned me though, was Teslas writing style. It is really informative, sophisticated, but at the same time (overall) comprehensible (at least for me) and entertaining. I've read fiction with writing styles that are a lot worse.
I am really looking forward to the other five books!
I was always fascinated by Tesla and his incredible inventions, but I never had the slightest idea, that he was a great writer as well! Informative and entertaining! I do not want to but this book down.