I’ll go with thoughts, since I never actually finished the book. I’ll be frank with this: I joined this club because I’m dyslexic and really need something that will encourage me to try to read more. I like reading, it’s just really hard for me to get through books that I don’t really love. This tumblr is great, I really appreciate what you guys’ve done, and before I start with my brief thoughts on the most recent book, The Blind Assassin, I’ll give you a one word description of what I thought of the previous books so you know whether or not to trust my reviews.
Everything is Illuminated- fantastic!
Tell All- I’m undecided about whether I liked this one or not
The Great Gatsby- I read some, liked it, but decided I’d finish the rest later this year since we have to read it for school. Also I was really busy at the time.
The Thousand Autumns of Andrew de Zoet - honestly, I didn’t read it.
A Clockwork Orange- GREAT! after you get used to the slang of course though…
Flipped- Juvenile, but good more or less.
The Blind Assassin- I hated the narrative “normal story” part and fail to see any sort of plot, much of a storyline or how it fits in with the rest of the book “the story within a story” part. “The story within a story” part I actually really liked, at first I thought it would be one continuous, semi-historical, sci-fi story that switched off every other chapter; which would have kept me reading the book. However, there was a certain point in the book, around page 80-something and then again around page 100-something where I just gave up on the book all together. I never, never ever, give up on books. Even if they’re bad I have to read through to keep from feeling guilty about quitting. This book is the only exception to this rule since I really couldn’t follow the story that much, or I’m sorry, stories, and I’m not to fond of the writing style either. Now don’t get me wrong, there were some very quotable moments that I read, usually in the inside story bit, to the point where I think I’ve reached my maximum quote limit on Read Hard, but overall the storyline just wasn’t worth wasting my time on 500-some pages (which I know most of you think isn’t much, but for a really busy, high school junior, who also is dyslexic…it’s a lot).
I just really hope the next book is better basically.
You have a lot of friends, she says.
Not a lot, he says. You don’t need many if there’s no rotten apples.
Fuck vegetarians - “All Gods are canrivorous” - Laura Chase.
I’ve never been inclined to read this book — hell, I’ve never been inclined to read Atwood. But now is as good a time as any, I guess. And, well, reading The Blind Assassin, I’m very much aware of how masterful the crafting is: A narrative within a novel within the actual novel. A sci-fi tale within a love story within a family saga. It’s admirable, even awe-inspiring.
Although, a part of me suspects Atwood wrote the “inner novel” separately, and no one wanted to publish it, har, and decided to put it inside a fat novel. [I did that once, in a short story. It didn’t work, mostly because I was too obvious.] And it’s this suspicion that prevents me from completely falling forward into the narrative[s]. That, and the fact that I just don’t like that “inner novel,” also called — confuzzlingly enough, thanks, Atwood — The Blind Assassin. I grit my teeth when the narrative breaks — Iris’ present + reminiscences — to make way for Laura’s posthumously published novel — I just don’t like the form used. I gnash said teeth when the characters in that novel digress to some sci-fi yarn to pass the time — I don’t like that genre.
I am a grouch. But I trudge on. Mostly because I really like Iris. And there are gems — I’ve quoted parts here — that have me in awe of Atwood’s prose. At least, Atwood’s prose in the Iris context. Augh. I’m trying not to skip Laura’s sandwiched novel altogether, but it’s a struggle.
Cat here, joined as soon as I learned such a book club existed (although in truth, Carina forced me). First bookface - taken before I left with featured book to get some much needed pampering. I started reading as soon as I bought the last copy in the bookstore (whew!) and I’m enjoying so far.
Even if love was underneath it all, there was a great deal piled on top, and what would you find when you dug down> Not a simple gift, pure gold and shining; instead, something ancient and possibly baleful, like an iron charm rusting among old bones. A talisman of sorts, this love, but a heavy one; a heavy thing for me to carry around with me, slung on its iron chain around my neck.
Why is it we want so badly to memorialize ourselves? Even while we’re still alive. We wish to assert our existence, like dogs peeing on fire hydrants. We put on display our framed photographs, our parchment diplomas, our silver-plated cups; we monogram our linen, we carve our names on trees, we scrawl them on bathroom walls. It’s all the same impulse. What do we hope from it? Applause? Envy? Respect? Or simply attention, of any kind we can get?
At the very least we want a witness. We can’t stand the idea of our own voices falling silent finally, like a radio running down.
The real name of the city was erased from memory by the conquerors, and this is why - say the taletellers - the place is now known only by the name of its own destruction. The pile of stones thus marks both an act of deliberate remembrance, and an act of deliberate forgetting. They’re fond of paradox in that region.” page 11.
But some people can’t tell where it hurts. They can’t calm down. They can’t ever stop howling.
(No, not really, but I do have a question.)
I’m about seventy pages into the book (I know, slowpoke), but I was just wondering, for the people that have been able to read fairly into the book: which part are you more interested?
“The Blind Assassin” is often described as having a novel-within-a-novel, and while I do enjoy the voice of Iris, I think I’m more attached to the sci-fi story (laden with an illicit affair!). I don’t know if it’s the format of the story (lack of quotation marks, yet there having a clear delineation as to what is being said and what is being narrated). I think the idea is also very interesting, as these two ‘genres’ don’t really get mixed together very often.
Anyway, a couple more questions, Read Hard! members:
Please remember that you are free to submit: quotes, thoughts, questions, etc. I’ll be posting a reading playlist soon, some of you might want to do something like that, too. Discussion posts are always welcome, as are book-clubby ones.
And please remember that comments for each post are turned on, so if you have something to say, feel free to do so. :)