Books I’ve Given Up On Recently

A Game of Thrones

It really is degraded. Made it a long way in, past the middle at least, and that’s saying something, and then the loan of the audiobook gave out. I found no interest in continuing. It is fantasy for postmodern sensibilities; no less, no more. I’ll say this, the guy can keep a story going. If I ever return to his stories, it will be with an eye to how to set things up and play them out. Maybe study the odd chapter, perusing.

After a while it gets predictable. People say it isn’t predictable, but I say it gets predictable: nothing good ever happens. Not a place to find much good, or true or beautiful. These things are not realities in Westeros, more like dead ends. One thumps the door to the world of G. R. R. Martin shut and steps into Borges and feels at once the sheer and sudden elegance in the mountains of a mind attuned to the good, the true and the beautiful. Better winds with the unrepentant Borges.

The Kraken

I think this is what they nowadays call an Urban Fantasy, a kind of magical realism on steroids or hallucinogens. So there are gods and London cops, and some kind of ax to grind against religion. Somebody seems to have nicked a giant squid and radio-man says it is therefore time for the apocalypse. I almost stuck with it just to find out if there is any coherent case against religion I ought to know about. The people talk like most of the English chaps I’ve met (not a lot of variety other than the parts of speech the F-bomb assumes, and it’s all bollocks), there is a lot of random and appalling violence, and lots of earnest nut-job weirdos threatening–if things get climactic–to become disturbing. Full of imagination, but of what sort of imagination?

Couldn’t even bring myself to wonder what would come next. One quarter of the way is all. Wonder more about what Harold Camping is up to, to tell the truth. Harold Kraken! Can it have been the Rapture? Suddenly no restaurant on planet earth is able to serve calamari . . . Will somebody please call the Metropolitan Police’s top-secret and unorthodox supernatural bureau?

You know, it was kind of interesting that he had characters who were able to get away with smoking in the non-smoking public houses of the gritty real world thanks to their magical powers.

Jerusalen–El Caballo de Troya

Not far at all into this one. Too much conspiracy. The nefarious CIA, the clumsy FBI, and some good guys who are not part of the power structure of the world–journalists I think, and renegade US Air Force pilots. Weighty stuff, and clumsy and supercilious. They have a time machine and are going to visit the first Century to look up Jesus. Found myself completely disinterested after the second chapter. Bet Jesus turns out to be a soft-headed liberal actively advocating international bailouts and more humane crucifixion. Spanish author, and a cheap sensationalizer to judge by the little I did. Maybe it was meant to be like some Tom Clancy thriller. Does he believe in universal health care? Not sure.

I want something comfortable, like Lewis’s planet books.
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Which is not to say I have not been finishing books. I have been finishing books.

Can’t think of anything you’d be interested in though. Am having a great time with de Maupassant–how does one pronounce his first name? Not much of a fan of French stuff, and the dialogue translates, as you can imagine, badly (or should it?). But he does things nicely. I might say he uses the right colors (or the colors well) for his subject every time, and all the parts draw together that way.

Finished a book on watercolors, am almost done with Blockley’s Interpretations, and am looking forward to getting more of similar interest and going through them. Learning to paint is frustrating, but it has its evenings.

Made my way for the first time and probably not the last time in my life through something by Peter Masters. This part of being a pastor holds little relish for me at the moment. Have been slogging through the Saints Eternal Rest with moments of attention. Has a good quotation on the affections there in the chapter I presently find myself in.

You know what is alright but being done with intermittency is Charles Williams on Witchcraft. A very interesting and useful book, but no high and inspiring argument. And speaking of intermittency, all the rest (Malory, Lewis, Scot–Waverley, Alter, others).

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