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November reading (and listening) - The Ex-Communicator

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December 1st, 2008


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01:52 pm - November reading (and listening)
Consider the lobster: David Foster Wallace
Hamlet: William Shakespeare
The Song of the Earth: Jonathan Bate
The Fire Gospel: Michel Faber
red dwarf/ infinity welcomes careful drivers: Grant Naylor
red dwarf/ better than life: Grant Naylor
Neuropath: Scott Bakker

Consider the lobster
David Foster Wallace (non fiction, audio, read by the author)

Very accessible introduction to the extremely accomplished and humane writing of David Foster Wallace. I find it almost unbearable to think that he is now dead at his own hand. I wish he had lived to see Obama get in. It's all so sad.

Hamlet
William Shakespeare (audio, BBC radio drama, starring Michael Sheen)

I didn't want to listen to another version of Hamlet too soon after seeing Tennant at Stratford, but after two months I thought it would be OK. I like Michael Sheen a lot, and he reads poetry with great force. this isn't as good as the RSC production, but you can't really go wrong with hamlet.

The Song of the Earth
Jonathan Bate (non-fiction)

A discussion about the relationship between literature and landscape, particularly English landscape. I haven't finished it yet.

The Fire Gospel
Michel Faber

A loose interpretation of the Prometheus myth by Faber, one of my favourite writers. It's part of a project of modern retellings of myths. This is not much more than a long short story. An expert in Aramaic discovers a lost early gospel which shakes the faith of millions worldwide. The overall thrust didn't convince me, and I'm not sure it convinced Faber. I think stories written to order, in projects like this one (retelling the Canterbury Tales or whatever), tend to disappoint. He's still a good writer of course.

red dwarf: infinity welcomes careful drivers and red dwarf: better than life
Grant Naylor (audio, read by Chris Barrie)

As you know I was very impressed by these, and they really got me going.

Neuropath
Scott Bakker

I have just started this. It's borderline detective/SF/horror, so I thought it would be interesting. A psychologist is asked by the FBI to help them track down his best friend who has become a serial killer (as usual). Turns out this friend has been supervising futuristic Guantanomo style torture for the US government, using various neural techniques to destroy the human personality. May well be a dramatisation of the author's theories on the relationship between brain and self, which I'm quite interested in. But then there's a danger in reading about things you have a prior interest in, isn't there.

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