Harold Bloom dedicates a section of How to Read and Why to poetry, because, he says, “Poetry is the crown of imaginative literature.” (How to Read and Why, page 69). I don’t feel Bloom’s insights actually are helping me read poetry, but I’ve decided to read the poets he suggests because it’s a broad introduction to some good poetry (I hope).
I’d never heard of A.E. Housman and in some respects I wish I still hadn’t. While Housman’s poems are easy to read and “lyrical,” the collection A Shropshire Lad (written in 1896) is horribly depressing and seems to me to capture the poet’s deep-rooted depression. (more…)
Last June, I had just barely begun book blogging. My reading was beginning to expand beyond my comfort zone (i.e., go to the library and randomly take a book with a pretty cover off the shelf) and into the world of TBR lists. When I read the preface to Harold Bloom’s How to Read and Why, I decided I needed to focus my reading. I asked myself the question:
How can I really “read” a book, even fiction, to get something out of it?
I decided to treat Bloom’s book as a textbook as I read through the works on his list, in search of the answer to that question. The How to Read and Why Reading List can be found here; all posts on Rebecca Reads relating to HTR&W can be found on the HTR&W tag.
Since I have now finished the short story portion of the HTR&W challenge, I thought I’d take the chance to revisit the project itself. (more…)
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino was a book that confused me from beginning to end, and yet I am glad I read it. Calvino was trying to do something creatively strange, and I think I missed it, but the strangeness was a bit rewarding in the end. All that said, I am struggling to say something coherent about the book. (more…)
I’m somewhat at a loss of what to say about Gogol’s Wife and Other Stories by Tommaso Landolfi.
In some respects, Landolfi’s stories reminded of Borges’ Fictions: they have elements the bizarre. I didn’t enjoy reading Borges (thoughts here), but I did sense a genius and power behind the writing. Landolfi’s writing is likewise laudable, although I wonder once again what the genius behind the stories actually is. I think it is beyond me. (more…)
Ficcciones by Jorge Luis Borges is about 170 pages in Spanish; the English translation of the same book is about 120 pages (within Borges’ Collected Fictions). Why, then, has this me taken weeks to get through?
Borges’ writing style is powerful. In some sense, I’m glad I struggled through Borges just to get a feel for his different style. But unlike Nabokov’s powerfully written stories, Borges’ well-written stories are weird. I seriously can’t think of any other word to describe them. I overall did not like them, and I will never read more Borges. (more…)