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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • June 05, 2006

     

    To Read, Or Not To Read...

    I've been reading several books at the same time for summer (see the lower left sidebar) and Umberto Eco's The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana intrigues me the most. The premise of the latest from the Italian professor semiotics can swing either way: laughably unpromising or spectacularly thrilling. A 60 year old Milanese bookseller regains consciousness after a stroke and remembers nothing of his life. Yambo suffers a peculiar form of amnesia--his "public" memory of languages, everyday routines, history and literature remains intact, but his autobiographical memory of personal experiences--of his family, lovers, childhood, even his name--is gone. The outlines of his life and the contours of his adolescence are merely a blur. Desperate to retrieve his past, he rummages through boxes of old newspapers, comics, records, photos, notebooks, photo albums and diaries. A continuous paradox exists through his effort to spur his memory: while he contrives to restore the original state of things, he has no clue what the original state had been, and this state was precisely what he needs to invoke his memory.

    Okay I'm trying to pick up the dust-covered copy of Da Vinci Code and read it. I've made numerous attempts but they have been futile--I can never get past the first chapter. The writing, which is cribbed from a number of dubious sources and reads like a poorly written airport novel, chokes me. A friend of mine told me while the book is poorly written, the movie is not so bad that it deserves the critical mauling it has already experienced in some quarters, which may be explained by a Da Vinci Code backlash from a media that has been saturated with Dan Brown's novel for years. He kindly cajoles me to at least finish reading the book so I won't miss anything in the movie, which adheres to the novel's montage--style, convoluted plot a little too closely for fear of alienating the hardcore fans, but inevitably allows some of Dan Brown's poor writing to pervade. Anyway, I'll do my best to finish the race, I promise.

    As I'm writing this post, my iPod shuffle plays:
    347/785 All I Have To Do Is Dream - The Everly Brothers
    348/785 The Way You Look At Me - Christian Bautista
    349/785 You're Beautiful - James Blunt
    350/785 Almost Over You - Sheena Easton
    351/785 Bad Day - Daniel Powter
    352/785 The One You Love - Glenn Frey
    353/785 Wake Me Up When September Ends - Green Day
    354/785 You And Me - Lifehouse

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