Books for the (end of) summer

I think I'm a slow reader. I am easily distracted, or am slow. Either ways, the end result is that I start many books I end up not finishing, or worse, buy a lot of books I don't actually read. The Indigo/Chapters and Amazon monsters are making a lot of money off me. Anyways, here's what I am currently on...

1- Eleanor Rigby, by Douglas Coupland. I read 20-something pages on the bus bound home, and it's really in the pop, sarcastic tone. It's about a lonely woman, her musings on loneliness, and her something marvelous sending her life into a higher orbit: the re-discovery of a long lost son. GG sent it to me by mail all the way from Victoria. He really crunches books like that. There was "Varieties of Romantic Experiences" by Cohen, which he gave me in mid-January the last time he came to Montreal. We love to commiserate on, how do you put it, the wilting of romantic pursuits.

2- Les Fleurs du Mal, par Charles Beaudelaire. Ha-ha, really.I started reading Le Spleen de Paris first. There is something so appealing in what's writing, and not at all undecipherable academic stuff from other French authors of the 19th century who we studied and overstudied at school. I'm one of those students who remember that Baudelaire was gay with some other author (he was bi, in fact), but can't recite any poem or anything.

3- Chansons pour elle, par Paul Verlaine. This time I actually bought it along with the previous entry, but I must've borrowed it before, in the summer of '04 at the McGill lib, when I was studying Chinese, not that it had anything to do with it. I was getting other books by French authors (smut by Apollinaire - pretty entertaining shit), so this was in the same section. Also got a Lao She play from the library on that same stroll (b/c I was studying Chinese, after all :D).

4- Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. Most good. The origins of human civ, and why are white folks dominating the Earth, explaining in this thick best-seller.

5- Apache Cookbook (O'Reilly). omg, and other books from the company's bookshelf, and web. Sometimes I wish wifi was city-wide and that portable computer devices were affordable. But then no, for the same reason my father refuses to have a cellphone, even if his boss paid for it.

Extra: I should look for Fran├žois Cheng. He's Chinese, but naturalized French, lived there since the end of wwii I think, and part of the Academie Francaise. My boss, a Frenchman, recommended that I get "Le Dit de Tianyi", which is a love story with the events of the Mao era in background, and basically a lesson of history for the uninitiated. I know a bit on the Cultural Revolution beyond its neutral-sounding name (in Quebec, we had a "Tranquil Revolution", around those few years), but I can afford to know a bit more. Coming from a French Chinese? ... would be intriguing.

I was going to say that The Gate of the Heavenly Peace, which I saw last year in HK around June 4th, would have a bit the same effect of giving details on an otherwise overpublicized event. What is the massacre anyways? Not just pro-democracy uprising crushed by an evil empire, but a complex power struggle, extremism on both sides forcing the tragedy of 6/4. After seeing that film, I do feel that it was a majority of reasonable people, who knew when to stop, but a band of few who wanted something spectacular to happen. You know, how as young people, we are restless and do something irrational just to "see how it's going to turn out"? (I'm thinking of Le Mauvais Vitrier in the Spleen).


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This page contains a single entry by Cedric published on July 27, 2006 10:08 PM.

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