Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim
1. Gender Troubles by Judith Butler
I was really surprised to see this in a charity shop as Routledge Classics aren't cheap but they are usually high quality. I'm not sure when I will get around to reading it but it's good classic text on feminism to have around just in case I need it for my studies.
2. The Blade Artist by Irvine Welsh
I struggled with Welsh's classic Trainspotting; I just couldn't understand it. Hopefully this will be a more accessible introduction to Irvine Welsh.
3. New Selected Poems 1966-1987 by Seamus Heaney
Another charity shop find. I don't read any poetry and I thought having Heaney around might inspire me to give it a go. After a quick scan, here is something I found evocative:
The royal roads were cow paths
The queen mother hunkered on a stool
and played the harpstrings of milkinto a wooden pail.
With seasoned sticks the nobles
lorded it over the hindquarters of the cattle.
Taken from 'The First Kingdom'
(I have no idea what it means though)
4. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
Recently I've really been fascinated my the notion of gender and the effect that society has on who we are. Woolf's biography of Orlando examines his relationship with gender and provides an opportunity for Woolf to examine the nature of biography.
5. Jacques the Fatalist by Denis Diderot
I don't really know why I picked this up. I saw a reference in passing to Diderot once and when I saw this book, I gave it scan and saw the various styles of dialogue used e.g.:
MASTER: And why, in your opinion, is he so worthy of respect?
JACQUES: Because he attaches no importance to the good works he performs and must therefore be of a naturally kind disposition and have a long-standing habit of doing good.
I am really into fiction that is unconventional, innovative and challenging. I find the experimentation with literary styles really inspiring as a wannabe writer.
6. Death in Venice and Other Stories by Thomas Mann
I've been looking for The Magic Mountain but thought I'd give this a try in the meantime.
7. The Engineer of Human Souls by Josef Škvorecký
I don't think I've read a Czech author before but the blurb grabbed me with it's talk of an emigre professor hounded by the Czech secret police.
8. What is Literature? by Jean-Paul Sartre
I'm not sure what I expected from this as I haven't read Sartre other than a preface he wrote. I'm halfway through and think if it was marked as a dissertation it would get a 2:2 due to gross generalisations and a failure to clearly answer the questions he asks.
9. A Little History of Literature by John Sutherland
I saw this in my local library and thought it would make for good bedtime reading but it's a bit boring so I've given up with it for now.
10. Homintern by Gregory Woods
Another whim. It promises to be a landmark discussion on the effects of homosexuality on our culture but that might just be marketing.
Those are my whimsical books. Have you read any of them? What books have you picked up on a whim? Get in touch :-)