Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Little Light Reading

In the last six months or so I've ploughed my way through the following, in no particular order:

Cormac Mc Carthy's The Road (apocalypse)
Patrick Mc Cabe's Winterwood (paedophilia)
Gerard Woodward's I'll go to Bed at Noon (alcoholism)
Michael Collins' The Keepers of Truth (murder)
Anne Enright's The Gathering (suicide)
Don de Lillo's Falling Man (terrorism)
Kazuo Ishiguro's Never let me Go (organ harvesting)
Lloyd Jones' Mister Pip (genocide)
MJ Hyland's Carry me Down (unhappiness)

I've also reread Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad (misogyny) and John Banville's Eclipse (loss) just for the craic. I have loved each and every one with the exception of Mister Pip, but though I didn't love it I did like it - it just didn't give me the same itch to reread it as the others have.

But I need a break. Can any of you recommend something that will lift my spirits?

40 comments:

Jayne said...

I'm depressed just reading the list.

some books I like:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society made me smile (even if it does deal with the German occupation of the Channel Islands during WWII).

Quite Ugly One Morning - Christopher Brookmyre is wonderful. Ditto One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night.

Aberystwyth Mon Amour by Malcolm Pryce - strange but good.

The Rabbit Factory by Marshall Karp.

You might have read some/all of these but hey...

Ciarán said...

Roddy Doyle's Rover Adventures (even if it is technically for "kids"). Actually, pretty much anything by Doyle, except The Woman Who Walked Into Doors. Táimid ag tógáil meanma anseo.

gimme a minute said...

I hear 'Peig' is a laugh a minute.

Billy said...

Everything I read recently seems to be mucho grim. For light relief I usually go for childrens' books, although those seem to be grimmer than I remember.

Chanberry said...

Some good choices there, albeit not exactly life affirming ones. Was very disappointed with Falling Man though, really not De Lillo's finest hour.

In terms of something a little more uplifting, econgirl ( http://www.econgirl.net/blog ) recently recommended Miranda July's collection of short stories 'No One Belongs Here More Than You.' If nothing else it will make you marvel at just how obtuse July's writing is. I loved it.

Felix for Zosia said...

If you want to add to the misery list, I am currently reading Joe Cinque's Consolation (Helen Garner). A true story of a uni student who kills her boyfriend with Rohypnol and heroin...

... but my favourite book ever is The Namesake (Jhumpa Lahiri). It's better than the movie, and so beautifully written.

Anonymous said...

Just read A Partisans Daughter by Louis de Bernieres which I think is supposed to be sad but inexplicably made me happy. Its short too and has those lovely short little chapters that make you go "oh go on, ill just read one more"

aj@lecraic said...

Never Hit a Jellyfish with a Spade by Guy Browning (he does the 'How to' column in the Guardian weekend mag) or something of that ilk. I'm dipping in and out of it at the moment. Other than that, you need a good popcorn book - something by James Patterson maybe.

And if you haven't read the Book Thief, I would recommend it as well - but maybe after you've done the fluffy stuff first.

OneForTheRoad said...

Viz

Manuel said...

twenty major's opus......

and comics, comics are great.....stay away from the japanese stuff though.....odd, very odd

AJ said...

If ya want something funny try PG WoodHouse or Pratchett.

alan said...

Ah!! Never Let Me Go is one of my FAVOURITE books. I love it!

I've just started The Shadow of the Wind.

Ooh, and i bought the Gathering the other day too. Good reading times ahead...

Paul Heron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
prenderghast said...

suicide.

Rosie said...

i love Brookmyre, Jayne. i've ever read, and that scene in One Fine Day In The Middle Of The Night where Ally pukes through the air vent is one of the funniest things i have ever read. i'll look into those others...

i love Rover and the Gigglers, Ciarán.

Peig has her moments, Gimme...

you and your kiddies books, Billser. i had nightmares after your Hans Christian Anderson post.

i liked Falling Man a lot, Chanberry, i found it a bit more accessible than much of de Lillo's stuff. i have never read any July, you've piqued my curiosity now. i have an aversion to short stories though.

still, Ann Enright's new collection tempts me.

sounds like a lovely book, Felix... maybe not in my current state of mind though. i've never read The Namesake, it sounds epic.

everything de Bernieres has published has made me cry - i love his stuff. Red Dog left me a bit traumatised though. i haven't read this one yet but it'll be something to look forward to.

i dunno, AJ, i generally dislike those kind of Jellyfish books. my popcorn staple has always been Ian Rankin but it seems he's put Rebus out to pasture.

Manuel, i read the excerpt Twenty posted on his blog and to be honest i thought it was shite. i like the blog but i don't like the characters enough to endure them for a novel. there, i've said it.

Pratchett is funny, Other AJ, but only for so long. still, sometimes the familiar has its charm.

Never Let Me Go surprised me, Alan. i picked it up on a whim knowing nothing about it and it has preoccupied me since.

backpedalbrakes said...

Just finished Joshua Ferris's And Then We Came To The End. It's pretty funny for a book that deals with redundancies, depression and breast cancer.

Rosie said...

sounds like a barrel of laughs, Catherine! still, i know what you mean. i have always thought Banville's The Book of Evidence and Nabokov's Lolita to be very funny, but i suspect that puts me in a minority.

Paul, i'd rather look at the pictures. though i am reading more of that stuff these days in an effort to keep my column from being too female-oriented (thanks again to Ciarán and Aodhán for their advice on that in yesterday's comments)

Prender - ?

perhaps you're suggesting that suicide is missing from my list. fear not, for I recently read Glen Duncan's Death of an Ordinary man, which i found extraordinarily depressing.

prenderghast said...

I was suggesting suicide as a way of cheering yourself up after reading a bunch of books like that.

Foreigner by Default said...

Mary Poppins books, that's what you need after heavy stuff like that. :D
Winter in Moominvalley - Tove Jansson. I know it sounds a kiddie book but it really one of the most wonderful things I've read, way more suitable for grownups.

Tim Wintons Cloudstreet if you are looking for a bit more conventional lift.

Thriftcriminal said...

Bloomin heck. Get a Terry Pratchett, Guards Gaurds perhaps? My personal favourite would be The Night Watch.

Jayne said...

oooh good - another Brookmyre fan! You'll probably like The Rabbit Factory then...

This might sound a little pedestrian but if you like Rankin have you tried Reginald Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe stuff? Over the last few years they've got fantastic. Dialogues of the Dead, Death's Jest Book are great.

Good luck.

lozenge said...

steve martin's "born standing up" is not as funny as it sounds, but it's funnier than "the road"...

Paul Heron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
La Bête said...

Hello there. I would like to recommend, in the following order:

- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
- The Cider House Rules – John Irving
- A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
- What a Carve Up! – Jonathan Coe

They’re actually all fairly dark too, dealing with grief and terrorism and lost love and whatnot, but they all made me laugh a lot and they all made me cry a lot, and on the whole I found them all extremely uplifting. Especially the first. Although some people don't get along with Oskar. How they can be so heartless as to take against the funniest, bravest little kid in the world eludes me frankly, but each to their own. Gosh, just thinking about little Oskar now is making me well up with joy.

Caro said...

I can't remember the last time I read a book that made me laugh.

I think that's why I read blogs.

Rosie said...

that's it, i'm quitting my job to become a full time bookworm. or maybe i'll just swap jobs with Alan The Sexy Librarian, because he's paid to read (at least that's my understanding of it).

John, chlamydia would be funnier than The Road.

Paul, the column is published in PDF format at www.nosmag.com

good point, Caro.

Terence McDanger said...

A second vote from moi for And Then We came to the End by Joshua Ferris.

It's a rather good book. It made Richard and Judy's bookclub thingy so it MUST be excellent. Nah seriously, it is good, you've written a bit about office nuances and stuff so I reckon it's right up your alley.

aj@lecraic said...

getting loads of ideas from all these book suggestions. Started reading The Kite Runner this morning - a very good read so far.

nós mag looks excellent. Love the layout and design. You should get it uploaded to issuu.com as well, all free - pdf is converted to a lovely 3d page turning mag for all the world to see.

Rosie said...

already done, AJ, though i'm not sure if the link is up on the main site yet. nice though, isn't it? i can claim no credit at all for the design but it's great to be a part of something so pretty and shiny.

aonghus said...

An Tionscadal, Tomás Mac Síomóin
http://aonghus.blogspot.com/2007/06/sr-tionscadal-mhic-shiomin.html

Cré na Cille - gach rud ar do liosta, agus breis!

An Cléireach
http://aonghus.blogspot.com/2007/12/clireach.html


Agus tá leabhar gearrscéalta foilsithe ag Biddy Jenkinson le Duinín mar bhleachtaire atá ar mo liosta siopadóireachta.

Paul Heron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosie said...

www.focal.ie

aonghus said...

Paul,

I speak Irish. So does Rosie.

I'm too damn lazy to translate it for you - and anyway, since I'm usually punning it'd be failry pointless.

I don't recommend trying to translate it with focal, though. That's a terminology dictionary.

Try a course with http://www.gaelchultur.com

aonghus said...

Oops.

I see you mean the article, not my post.

That's sort of the point though.

When Oliver J said there was no sex in Ireland before television, he meant in English.

Irish is a sexier language. ;-)

http://www.sengoidelc.com/taxonomy/term/11

Rosie said...

my apologies, Paul. i was being facetious. i sometimes get a bit miffed when people complain that they can't read something i've written because it's in irish, but that's my problem. i might (at some stage, when i've had a few more published) translate the articles and publish them here bilingually.

for the moment though, nós* is where it's at. you can glean pretty much all you need to know from the pictures accompanying my column anyway!

Shane said...

Total shot in the dark, but I'd recommend The Island at the Centre of the World by Russell Shorto, which is a genuinely fascinating book about the crazed early days of of New York.

Feel free to ignore this advice.

Rosie said...

thanks, Shane.

Paul Heron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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