More Earlier Reads & Light Reviews
Posted on January 11, 2010
by Adam Burgess
The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
The Crying of Lot 49 is an apocalyptic narrative which deals with the thermodynamic concept of entropy. Pynchon prophecies the technological age and the lack of genuine communication/conversation between humans will result in the slowing down and eventually destruction of civilization.
Very interesting read, probably one of Pynchon’s more “accessible” novels, though I had to pop on the web a few times to get a better grasp of the thermodynamic concepts.
The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by Vincent Leitch (Editor)
This is the graduate student in literature’s bible. No joke. The pages are even as thin, or thinner, than those in my Bible. It’s heavy, too. Literally and metaphorically. Essential. Also, probably the reason I now have hunched shoulders.
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
Incredible work of creative memoir and meta-fiction. Worth the read to anyone, especially those interested in war fiction (“non-fiction”). However, in response to reviews which state that this novel “takes no sides,” I am befuddled. The Things They Carried is every bit the anti-war novel. O’Brien implies and states pointedly that he was entirely against the war. On page 61 he even states that he was a coward for going to the war, because it meant choosing what was forced upon him rather than what he knew to be right.
In any case, great read. Eerily playful and profound.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
Very interesting but not very entertaining. This is more a philosophical work than a piece of literature, but it is excellent for what it is. Those who read the back and become interested in the “love story” it touts might walk away a bit confused, if they finish the book at all. However, the very last section, “Karenin’s Smile,” is absolutely breath-taking.
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
Excellent read. Entertaining, sad, sexy. Great summertime, beach book.
Well-said on Unbearable Lightness of Being. I’m still not entirely sure I took away 100% of the book, but I did appreciate it and its philosophicalness (I made that word up) in the end. Just wasn’t quite what I had expected going into it.