I started reading the novel because of the HBO series based on this book. I really like the TV show and couldn't wait for the next week to come to advI started reading the novel because of the HBO series based on this book. I really like the TV show and couldn't wait for the next week to come to advance the story, so I decided to read ahead. I'm glad I did. What a story this is! The prose of this book is kind of clunky sometimes, and could have done with a better edit, but the plot, with all its intrigues and machinations and, well, plots, really is very exciting. I found A Game of Thrones unpredictable and (the ultimate compliment for books of this sort) un-put-downable. I'll be reading the rest of the series for sure....more
I bought this book solely based on Chris Ware's awesome book cover (not pictured), not being aware of what it was about or whether or not I would enjoI bought this book solely based on Chris Ware's awesome book cover (not pictured), not being aware of what it was about or whether or not I would enjoy it. Voltaire is a 'big name,' after all, so I figured it was a safe bet.
It turns out it that the book was indeed pretty good. This was, however, not my feeling at first. I generally despise didactic art, and at first it seemed like Candide was just going to be one long satire of Leibniz, monotonously proving over and over again that this is not "the best of all worlds." I thought it would just be a darkly comic catalogue of whippings, beatings, rape and murder, all pointing out the banal truth that things are kinda shitty here on earth. Being a 21st-century reader who has inherited a violent disregard for Leibnizian optimism, and for whom, moreover, cynicism is the default setting, this prospect bored me.
But, being a short book, I stuck with it. And happily, as the story went on I developed both an affection for Candide's willful naivety and a strong curiosity to see what strange adventures he would get himself into next. The story takes the reader to the New World and back, meeting cannibals, pirates, bishops, and one-buttocked old women along the way. It was all very entertaining.
For a modern person, this is a good, fast-paced adventure novel; its philosophical import is strictly for the historians....more
It has it all: love, humour, smarts, beauty... Passages made me laugh out loud. Other passages made mThis book is pure smack for the sentimental soul.
It has it all: love, humour, smarts, beauty... Passages made me laugh out loud. Other passages made me terribly sad. And yet other passages (particularly the Kafka-esque, or I guess more appropriately Bruno Schulz-esque, fantasy stories within the novel) transfixed me with wonder. You can tell Krauss used to be a poet; she speaks to the soul of things.
It is by no means a perfect book. The plot is a little confusing as it reaches the end, and it is a bit uneven (Leopold Gursky was a far more interesting character for me than Alma and the narrative dragged in parts). But the fact of the matter is that, despite it having a happy ending, I almost wept only on the subway as I finished this book. If that isn't a recommendation I don't know what is.
It's only February, I know, but this is the best novel I've read so far this year....more
This book is funny and sad and true. I think it captures something essential about The Way We Live Now. Way better than the hyped-up 'masterpiece' ofThis book is funny and sad and true. I think it captures something essential about The Way We Live Now. Way better than the hyped-up 'masterpiece' of 2010, Freedom, anyway...
I didn't expect this novel (novella?) to be as affecting as it was. I was afraid it would be overly ironic or cutesy or detached. After all, the novel frequently mentions hamsters, the main characters' names are Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning, and the text often name-drops hipster touchstones like American Apparel, veganism, indie bands, etc.
But somehow it all works. The affectedly affectless prose; the way Lin handles Gmail chat, the internet, and all the other accoutrements of life in the new millenium; and the fact that the characters and their relationships feel real... it all really gets you right here: <3
The essays collected in this book are like the literary equivalent of Lays chips: "I bet you can't read just one." I cracked the spine three days ago,The essays collected in this book are like the literary equivalent of Lays chips: "I bet you can't read just one." I cracked the spine three days ago, couldn't help gorging myself, and now the figurative bag is empty.
As usual, Klosterman's essays in this book are David Foster Wallace Lite, complete with discursive footnotes and entertaining, abstract ruminations on contemporary culture. But whereas DFW is hyper-intellectual, impressively erudite, and usually has some sort of wider philosophical point to make, Chuck Klosterman is more interested in cultural ephemera and abstract thought for the sake of abstract thought. It's writing about ephemeral culture qua ephemeral culture.
Which is just fine because Klosterman's thoughts happen to be entertaining and stimulating and authentic and funny. Reading Klosterman is like watching TV while your nerdy best friend provides running commentary.
I recommend this book for anyone who, like me, spends a lot of time compulsively analyzing things most people don't think are worth thinking about....more
The narrator's voice is sharp and witty and totally misanthropic in a really engaging way. The book is a bit overlong though, especially since it is eThe narrator's voice is sharp and witty and totally misanthropic in a really engaging way. The book is a bit overlong though, especially since it is episodic rather than plotted. After 200 pages I kind of got the point. In any case, it's definitely worth a read....more
I decided to pick this up because I had heard it is one of the best books of the 2000s. And with a movie soon to be released in theatres, I wanted toI decided to pick this up because I had heard it is one of the best books of the 2000s. And with a movie soon to be released in theatres, I wanted to read it while it is still virginal and unspoiled.
In the end, I guess all I can say is that I don't really get what the fuss is about.
There are things I really liked about this book, particularly the characters, who are subtly rendered and very realistic. But even so. The book failed to exert any pull on me. I never really lost myself to it. I was always aware of how many pages were left and I never lost sight of what the book really is: a well-wrought artifice.
Its craftsmanship and understatement is admirable, but it failed to move me....more
This is a novel in that peculiarly French genre of social commentary and philosophical digression interspersed with hardcore porn. I felt kind of selfThis is a novel in that peculiarly French genre of social commentary and philosophical digression interspersed with hardcore porn. I felt kind of self-conscious reading this thing on the subway, but I persevered. And I'm glad I did, because, damn, this novel is good.
It's a provocative exploration of Western decadence, capitalism, and sex tourism. Putting it that way makes it sound dry and uninteresting, but with the exception of the porno scenes -- in my mind's eye, I can totally see the distasteful image Houellebecq wacking off while writing those bits -- it is sharply observed and compulsively readable.
The novel is full of memorable aphorisms: "Anything can happen in life, especially nothing." “It is in our relations with other people that we gain a sense of ourselves; it is that, pretty much, that makes relations with other people unbearable.”
As you can tell, this is not the most positive book. But it is unflinchingly honest.
The bottom line: I enjoyed Platform immensely. Now I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of La carte et le territoire......more