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The girl of slender means

What I think about books, my brain work

Currently reading

The Bat
Jo Nesbo
Kate Zambreno
The Rainbow
Daphne Merkin, D.H. Lawrence

The Complete Short Stories

The Complete Short Stories - Muriel Spark http://www.lauragonzalez.co.uk/2013/08/31/the-complete-short-stories-by-muriel-spark/

Strictly Bipolar

Strictly Bipolar - Darian Leader http://www.lauragonzalez.co.uk/2013/08/20/strictly-bipolar-by-darian-leader/
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde, Jeffrey Eugenides http://www.lauragonzalez.co.uk/2013/08/17/the-picture-of-dorian-gray-by-oscar-wilde/
A Far Cry from Kensington - Muriel Spark http://www.lauragonzalez.co.uk/2013/08/16/a-far-cry-from-kensington-by-muriel-spark/
Knots and Crosses - Ian Rankin http://www.lauragonzalez.co.uk/2013/08/10/knots-and-crosses-by-ian-rankin/
Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway http://www.lauragonzalez.co.uk/2013/08/01/fiesta-the-sun-also-rises-by-ernest-hemingway/
La fiesta del chivo - Mario Vargas Llosa http://www.lauragonzalez.co.uk/2013/07/08/la-fiesta-del-chivo-by-mario-vargas-llosa/
Anthem - Ayn Rand http://www.lauragonzalez.co.uk/2013/06/30/anthem-by-ayn-rand/
High-Rise - J.G. Ballard http://www.lauragonzalez.co.uk/2013/06/14/high-rise-by-j-g-ballard/
The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry - Jon Ronson This book was probably better than OK, but I cannot say I liked it. It seems to be a collection of particular stories and threads of exploration, a lot of which are very interesting and well articulated but which, in my view, fall on the central premise, the use of the Bob Hare psychopath checklist, which returns time and time again into the narrative in the most annoying way. I know that checklists and diagnostics do return in that way for someone like Jon Ronson, and his writing style is true to his particular viewpoint as an outsider to the mental health industry, and an individual with a heightened sense of anxiety. And I am not saying he is an annoying writer at all. In fact, he has some really beautiful passages and narratives in this text, but the hole checklist thing seems very indulgent and the book does not conclude much on its own investigative premise. It does raise important questions about labelling and psychological disorders, though, so it is worth a read.

Reisen II: Sharon Kivland

Reisen II - Sharon Kivland A lovely pamphlet detailing some of Sigmund Freud's holiday train journeys at the turn of the century. It reads like a beautiful, poetic litany, similar to the one travelers gets over the speakers at stations and airports, when delivered by a commanding, deep, knowledgeable voice. The reader is treated with respect which is why the writing makes a lot more sense if one knows what Freud was doing in between periods of holiday. I could imagine him needing a break from his dreaming, his study of jokes and children or his treatment of the difficult Dora. This added enormous pleasure to the aptly repetitive structure of the pamphlet. I am glad Freud got some rest.

Talking About Detective Fiction

Talking About Detective Fiction - P.D. James I got the sense that this book, although interesting, would have worked better as a series of lectures. It is full of repetitions (how many times does the word 'vicariously' appear) and it is vapid. It shows some insights, here and there but it is too thin and opinionated.
Garnethill - Denise Mina A good story, well thought through and executed, mostly (I took some small consistency issue with the scene where she finds out who the killer is). Glasgow appears interesting and a worthy context, making me consider visiting some of the buildings and sites mentioned, like the lightbulb factory in Renfrew, which sounds and looks amazing. The characters are hilarious and tragic at the same time (which makes them believable), and the subject matter is one that pre-dates and surpasses Stieg Larsson's treatment. I could not put it down and I will be reading the other two in the trilogy. More than a 3 star, as it is the best crime novel I have read all year, but not quite a 4, given my issues with that key scene.
Jar City - Arnaldur IndriĆ°ason, Bernard Scudder I liked the main story around murder, genetic disease and paternity but I am not sure about the characterisation and the subsidiary stories, which all seemed a little flat to me. Erlendur has potential as a detective but I found him too bland, too generic. More could also be done around the context, Iceland, and its idiosyncrasies. Perhaps it would work best as a TV series like the killing? Possible ...
Killing Floor  - Lee Child Killing Floor is a well plotted story, with good pace and a great main character, although still a little unbelievable. I am willing to see how Reacher develops in future books. The writing is, I think, too filmic and there is a lot of shrugging in the narrative, too much. I was going to give it 2*, but the ending was so satisfactory that it earned itself another.
Pale Fire - Vladimir Nabokov This is an amazing book, a feat of style and form and, just because of that, no the easiest read. yet, it is rewarding and interesting. Not exactly satisfying, mind you, but I find Nabokov never is. I could only read it in the mornings. Before bed, my brain would go into overdrive if i attempted more than 10 pages. Yet, there is enjoyment in this book, there are poetic moments, divine details and wonderful revelations. The introduction - poem - commentary - index format is difficult to pull without looking gimmicky, but Nabokov does it with grace and elegance. Shade, Kinbote and Gradus will stay with me for a long time.