I’ve finally updated my “current reads” page. I haven’t really been on a tumblr lately. A lot of people here are spiteful, despite having some kind of informed perspective on things. I might need to unfollow one or two people soon, or else my good vibes will be forever tainted. Plus, I’ve got more important things to do than tumble about the internet, hyperlink after hyperlink (wait, I do?)
Anyway, here are the two things I’ve started reading a little bit ago.
— 100 Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
— Nausea, by Jean-Paul Sartre
I borrowed 100 Years of Solitude from the library, and I really need to get on my reading game more or else I won’t finish it in time for the book discussion. Yeah, I miss book discussions (not college culture though, hah), so that’s why I looked up a few book clubs in the Baltimore area to figure out who’s reading what, and what’s worth reading. 100 Years of Solitude has been categorized under the magical realism label. So far, I’m a little confused by the book. It breaks the normal conventions one is taught in a creative writing class. Lots of exposition. All the characters’ behaviors are explained with a simple sentence or two. Nothing solidly poetic, at least from my worldview of literature (which is, of course, still growing).
I’ve never really read anything “magical realism” before, and yet I’m skeptical of this book. I’m generally enjoying it, despite my obvious Western literature sensibilities. (Although, I have come up with some interesting ideas of why it was written the way it had been, so we’ll see. After all, this book did win a Nobel Prize.) I refuse to be critical of this book until I’ve offered up every possible generous interpretation of this piece. I say this also because of something Gore Vidal said in that recent interview that was posthumously published:
“Especially since the Americans only like things they can label, even if it kills them. I mean, think of those poor Latin American writers. Some of them are very good. But the ‘magical realism’ label has absolutely ruined them. The critics are like tourists who return from a trip saying they’ve ‘done’ Machu Picchu: ‘Okay, we’ve done magical realism,’ so now we can throw it out.”
As such, I’m doing my best to approach this book from an unadulterated mind (suspending a lot of my lit sensibilities, as I said). I know Marquez, the book’s author, was from Colombia; yet, I know nothing of Colombian writing, culture, or history, all things which could help inform my perspective on this book. In any case, hopefully I will get this done before the book discussion, and hopefully someone there will have an informed perspective on this!
Nausea, on the other hand, I am highly enjoying. Despite the French words which have been sprinkled throughout the book (I can’t pronounce French at all), it’s been a great read thus far. If anyone has been wanting to read a book that digs into the complexities of the inner human experience, I would definitely recommend Nausea, especially if you have some background or budding interest in existentialism.