Reading – An Appropriate Response to Reality

Whenever I read/watch the news (from Croatia and the rest of the world) it looks like it’s only crime and disasters that they are reporting on, and this of course depresses me. So, what is a person to do? Some time ago (20 years) I decided I was going to escape to the literary world as much as my real world obligations allowed me to. I am happy to say that the decision was one of the best things in my life.

Now that the inner monologue drivel is done, let’s proceed with my overview of the books I’d read in 2013:

VALIS (VALIS Trilogy, #1)VALIS by Philip K. Dick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to a friend of mine last year I read my first FKDick book, and it was a nice one.
It takes you a while to catch up with the plot intricacies and the insanity, but when you get it, it is just fun 🙂
The main character of this book is going through a sort of a schizophrenic period and is keeping track of this.

“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”

and as this quote says, it all seems almost normal – his going crazy and believing all these things about himself and the people around him.

Other beauties from this book include:

“Once you notice Pyrrhic victories they seem to abound.”

“I am an immortal soul tied to the body of a dying animal.”

“Reality is that which when you stop believing in it, it doesn’t go away.”

Much Ado About NothingMuch Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really needed a bit of Shakespeare and I didn’t even know it until I finished reading this.

My favourite character by far in this is Dogberry – simply hilarious and Shakespeare at his best:

“Marry, sir, they have committed false report;
moreover, they have spoken untruths;
secondarily, they are slanders;
sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady;
thirdly, they have verified unjust things;
and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.”

bang
You’d think I was old enough to know that Shakespeare is always the answer, even when you don’t know the question, especially then.
I was going through one of my depression/lethargy/rage against the world/rage against myself phase, and after reading this and watching the Joss Whedon movie, it just came to me – there are idiots in this world, there are evildoers, there are liars, there are oath-breakers…. but there is also song, and laughter and true friendship.
(drivel again, but hey, I’m allowed, “it’s my party…”)

American GodsAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was one of my “buddy-reads” and it took us a while (what with work and everything) but it was well worth it in the end.
There are many things I loved about this book – the amount of research Gaiman did, the life he breathed into Shadow, the richness of characters and the emotion that runs through the entire book.
I love reading about mythologies and different beliefs and this was like a smorgasbord of everything that’s fun about that – different ideas of supreme beings, different goals, the age old fights of good vs. evil; old vs. new; Europe vs. the rest of the world….and Shadow in the middle of all that just trying to hold on to dear life and not really getting what’s going on until it’s too late.
There are however some things that I would have liked to see more of – the three sisters for instance or the Loki side (surprise, surprise I want more Loki).

All this of course is wrapped up in some great writing:
“I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you’re alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”

“Say ‘Nevermore,'” said Shadow.
“Fuck you,” said the raven.”

“Every hour wounds. The last one kills.”

“There’s never been a true war that wasn’t fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous.”

“Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.”

“You musn’t be afraid of the dark.’
‘I’m not,’ said Shadow. ‘I’m afraid of the people in the dark.”

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Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2)Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I continued with this series but was not as thrilled as I was with the first book. There was just something lacking in here, perhaps it was just not as funny as the first one…
I will not give up on this because, as my friends assure me, the series gets better as it continues.
So, until the next installment here’s a quote or two:
“Men are foolish. They will stare at anything female and naked.”

“I found him in a Dumpster one day when he was a kitten and he promptly adopted me. Despite my struggles, Mister had been an understanding soul, and I eventually came to realize that I was a part of his little family, and by his gracious consent was allowed to remain in his apartment. Cats. Go figure.”

So that’s it for now. I’ll continue the overview of 2013 soon and then I’m on to 2014 🙂
Until then
cheers

drink

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One Comment Add yours

  1. I liked this post. I think this kind of “escapism” is great. I enjoy ny life but why not to enrichen it even more. I’d recommend Philip K. Dick, books like counter clock man , the man in the high castle and world according to Jones. They’re all very fascinating. I think he’s one of the best scifi writers ever. And Neil Gaiman. My favorite! 🙂

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