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As usual I’m not going to mention the books that I didn’t like because I don’t want the authors to hunt me down and kill me.1 Writers are scary people.
I’m still on a bit of a crime binge. And have been reading a scary amount of adult books. Who’d've thunk there was some good books over on those shelves? Colour me, shocked.
So here are the novels:
Manhwa and manga read on the Queen Mary 2:
The more manga, manhwa and graphic novels I read the more I want to write some of my own.
Have any of you read any of these? What did you think?
Posted by Justine at 0:18, 6 May 2008 under Manga, Praising, Reading, Travelling | 13 Comments »
I’m with you on Mina. She is unbelievably awesome. And, her prose comes off as effortless. One of my favorites.
Also, loved “We need to talk about Kevin.” A great book, a wonderful exercise in narration. Agree. Literature. It’s one I plan to reread, which for me is always a sign. (And, yeah: I have two kids. It scared the sh&te out of me.) Funnily enough, I read Jodi Picoult’s 19 Minutes around the same time. Same subject matter, but Shriver blew Picoult out of the water.
I liked Double Fault too–wondered if it was really the story of two writers in diguise…
May 6th, 2008 at 12:31 AM
Oh, and one more thing about “Kevin.” The most miraculous thing about that book is how Shriver shows that mother and son are the same in their most essential personality–in other words, not on the surface of things, but way down deep. Brilliant.
May 6th, 2008 at 12:35 AM
Mary Elizabeth S. Says:
If you don’t mind my asking, why did you type out a chapter of Exile? Or rather, how does that work? I can sense a really cool writing exercise in there, and I’d like to try it myself, but I don’t actually know what it is you did.
May 6th, 2008 at 12:56 AM
When I started reading “Kevin” I was quite sympathetic towards the main character (this tends to be my default position with perspective characters, especially in first person narratives). So I spent quite a while feeling angry on her behalf about the husband’s wilful blindness.
But then suddenly (though I can’t pinpoint the exact spot) my whole attitude changed. I realised that the basic subtext was “so who was right after all, hmmm?”, and at that point the book just lost me. The plot was still horrifically gripping – I coudn’t have NOT finished it – but I found I was just fed up with all the characters.
And so, notwithstanding the undeniable power of the book, it’s not one I’ll be going back to.
May 6th, 2008 at 1:09 AM
i read ‘we need to talk about kevin’ and i rather liked the protag… didn’t get what kelly said from it at all. this probably says more about me & my density than about you guys, though.
also didn’t put me off having kids. oh wait, i already had those
towards the end i was very much steeling myself for what shriver was going to do, um, *someone* in the book, ‘no you’re not, please don’t, oh bugger even worse than i thought it would be’ – she’s very good alright.
May 6th, 2008 at 5:46 AM
sara z. Says:
I haven’t read Shriver, but love Highsmith, so now I’m excited to check her out. Yay!
My husband enjoys Price’s books – particularly Samaritan. We have an ARC of Lush Life sitting around here…I need to check that out.
May 6th, 2008 at 10:30 AM
7. Justine Says:
Kelly: Actually I was saying I would call Kevin a crime novel. I have no time whatsoever for the classification of “Literature”. If a book is Literature because it’s beautifully written then Highsmith and Mina and Whalen Turner and any number of other writers should be in that section and many I can think of (but won’t name) should not be in that section. Which is why I think the section is essentialy bullshit.
But, yes, it is an amazing book. Though I’m not sure about the essential sameness of mother and son. There’s a big difference between being a self-centred pain in the arse and a psychopath. Though I can see what you mean. But I saw it more as him modelling himself on her worst aspects and taking them to their hideous extreme.
Mary Elizabeth: I started to answer but it was getting long and involved I think I’ll write a whole post on it.
Harriet: I know what you mean. Every page I liked her less and less until I started to hate her. (Mind you I don’t think I would have liked her husband any more than I liked her.) I totally understand not wanting to re-read it. It’s a thoroughly unpleasant book. But I’m fascinated by unreliable narrators.
Marrije: Maybe people who’ve already had kids or have already decided firmly against should read it? Def. don’t read it while pregnant! Yup, I was shocked by the ending.
Sara Z: If anything Highsmith has a bit of a sunnier outlook. Just so you’ve been warned . . .
I think my problem with Clockers is how unrelentingly male it was. Though that doesn’t usually bother me. Not with books anway. He is a gorgeous, gorgeous writer though.
May 6th, 2008 at 12:01 PM
You read Bride of the Water God! I, too, have absolutely no idea what’s going on, but I have also been taken in by the gorgeous.
Also by the men in wet shirts with tattoos and the one-eyed woman with a tattoo…
I was so excited when Emma 7 came out! But I am sad there is no more, though I think the stories in the Emma-verse and Shirley have been licensed. I’ve only read the latter, but it’s adorable.
And yay Monster! I love it so, and I cannot wait until Urasawa’s other series comes out here as well so I can sic it on everyone!
May 6th, 2008 at 2:18 PM
9. Justine Says:
Oyce: I’m so relieved it’s not just me who has no idea what is going on in Bride. Phew! I do love it though and not just for the gorgeous. I really enjoy not having any idea what’s going on! Means that absolutely nothing is predictable.
May 6th, 2008 at 2:35 PM
Jennifer, aka literaticat Says:
i still get chills about KEVIN, and i read it as an arc like 6 years ago.
i absolutely loathed the mom for about 3/4ths of the book. i kept thinking “why am i still reading this, the woman is atrocious” — and i’d read bits of it out loud to my sister to show her how hideous the main character. but for some reason i kept going. and then at a certain point – whoa.
and yes, i liked that the mother and son were really so much alike.
May 6th, 2008 at 8:49 PM
I love Mina, too. I’ve been meaning to read the Shriver since it came out, so now I’ll definitely track down a copy!
Awesome. I love going on crime kicks. (Literary crime kicks, I mean.)
May 7th, 2008 at 8:01 PM
Hey, cool! I can’t wait to find out more. I love writing exercises; they are the perfect blend of procrastination and progress. It’s like research. It’s not writing, but it isn’t not writing, either, if that makes sense.
(And you can’t fault a process that gets results in the end, right?)
May 8th, 2008 at 12:23 AM
I finally read We Need to Talk ABout Kevin a few weeks ago … brilliant and Richard Price’s The Breaks which is quite different from his other works since its about a recent college grad trying to cope with depression and post school life. I’ve moved Clockers up to the top of my pile. I really like Dennis Lehane and not just because of the Red Sox musings.
May 8th, 2008 at 2:06 PM
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