NaNo 2017

This time around, the decision to do NaNoWriMo again came out of the blue. Other than a rather vague idea for a story and the nagging feeling that I should get back to writing, I had nothing in the last week of October, when I remembered that November was a Novel Writing Month. It took me all of that week to come up with a slim outline which doesn’t cover even a half of the plot (read: I’ve no clue how story will progress beyond that point) and imagery for a couple important scenes. You’re thinking that doesn’t bode well? So did I! But lo, 10 days and 15,000 words into it, I’m making steady progress, I’ve no trouble allocating the time or meeting the daily goals, and my writing, although very rusty indeed, isn’t half as crappy as I expected it to be after five years of break.

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Hyperion

By D. Simmons

After reading the first of four books, I wrote a one-line comment on Goodreads saying, “Liked it despite numerous annoyances.” After reading the second, I change my statement to “Didn’t like it despite numerous qualities”. These are mainly related to the authors indisputable ability to create and maintain suspense, and to surprise. Book one ends with a cliffhanger so epic that I had to pick up book two immediately. But I won’t be reading the rest of the series.

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Mrs. Dalloway

by V. Woolf

What an odd book! With no plot whatsoever, the narrative flows from one point of view to another, sometimes smoothly and sometimes making nearly unintelligible jumps. Almost every character that’s mentioned, no matter how thin their connection to the titular Mrs. Dalloway, her friends and family, gets to to ‘speak their mind’. I struggled to find connections. At times I struggled to tell what the hell was going on. But despite the oddity, I mostly enjoyed reading it. The writing is unorthodox, occasionally poetic, and I was struck by its beauty more than a few times. So here I’ll save some of them:

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The City & The City

by C. T. Miéville

I devoured this book in three late-night readings and I couldn’t stop thinking of it during the days in between. It defies generic placement; calling it sci-fi would attach to it a load of unwarranted expectations, yet saying it’s just a noirish crime novel staged in a fictitious setting would hardly do it justice. It’s a captivating, unsettling and above all, incredibly original work of art and imagination.

Before you continue reading, be warned that it will be very hard to avoid spoilers in this review, and that your enjoyment in and appreciation of the book might be entirely ruined if you do get spoiled.

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Quote: Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Two dismally absurd persons… were posted at the front door; and in one of them I recognized a postboy discharged from the Boar for running a young couple into a sawpit on their bridal morning, in consequence of intoxication rendering it necessary for him to ride his horse clasped round the neck with both hands.