Books I have no time to read.

A little life update: I have moved to a different city, I have moved to a new university, and I am now doing a Masters degree. The only way to describe the step-up to Masters level is by saying it is like getting hit by a bus and then multiple buses and a train drive over you and then a plane lands on you. It’s a massive jump.

I did not bring many pleasure reading books to university with me because I knew I would have no time. A part of me secretly hoped I could slowly read a chapter a night of a book for pleasure and get through my little pile. That is not going to happen.

I brought five books to university with me that I hoped to read at some point. They are staring at me on my shelf and I know I cannot read them but I am excited about these books so I’m going to talk about them here.

 

1. Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison.


Probably the book I am most excited for. Invisible Man is an existential novel about an unnamed black man and his battle with being invisible in society due to the colour of his skin.

The story follows the narrator through his life as he enters different movements such as the jazz age and the Black Power movement.

If I had the time, I would pick this up right now. I feel like this book is going to be an instant favourite of mine.

2. Doctor Zhivago – Boris Pasternak.


I bought this in a bookshop lock-in because these editions are so beautiful. This is the last Russian classic I have unread on my shelf and I really want to get to it soon.

Set alongside the backdrop of the Russian revolution, Yuri Zhivago is a physician and poet and wrestles with the cruel experience of the new world order and the changes it brings to his life.

Doctor Zhivago was banned in the Soviet Union until 1988. From what I have heard it is going to be a complicated read and I will have to dedicate a lot of time to it.

3. The Age of Reason – Jean-Paul Sartre.


I read Nausea at the beginning of this year and it was brilliant. The Age of Reason is an existential novel following a Parisian philosophy teacher through the cafes and bars of Montparnasse over two days in the summer of 1938.

Sartre deals with the concept of freedom as the ultimate aim of human existence in this novel .  I love existential literature and cannot wait to pick up another Sartre book.

4. Compass – Mathias Enard.


Fitzcarraldo Editions is an independent publisher of translated contemporary fiction and essays. I love the simplicity of the covers – blue for fiction and white for nonfiction. Compass was shortlisted for the International Man Booker Prize in 2017.

Compass is about Franz Ritter, who is an insomniac musicologist, and one night he takes to his sickbed and drifts in and out of dreams and memories. He thinks about his fascination with the Middle East and, to quote the plot synopsis, his mind is occupied with “various writers, artists, musicians, academics, orientalists, and explorers”.

The novel appears to deal with dense and philosophical material and is told in a stream-of-consciousness narrative. I have a feeling it is going to be a difficult read.

5. Go – John Clellon Holmes.


Go is described as the first novel to depict the Beat Generation. I really do not have much to say about this. Think of anything written by the Beat Generation and it is probably the plot of this book.

I read Allen Ginsberg’s lectures earlier this year and he mentioned John Clellon Holmes’ influence on the literary movement so I’ve had to pick it up.

I have not read these books yet so I cannot form an opinion but I cannot wait to read them. All the books I have left on my to-be-read shelf are quite dense reads (well done, Amy) so I understand they are books I cannot just pick up and read passively.

If you have read any of these books, I would love to know your opinions!

This is just a quick book haul post. Hopefully when I am no longer drowning in uni reading and essays I can write more discussion posts. I really enjoyed writing my Westworld blog post and want to continue that series of blog posts. I have a few drafts analysing some of my favourite films I cannot wait to post. Stay tuned.

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