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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day 211: The Quiet Reader

I resisted the e-book to start. It wouldn't be the same. The smell, the sound, the texture of the page turned. It can't be replicated by something with buttons and a waning energy bar. But then I got my Kindle and lots and lots and lots of books. A bookshelf in my hands. And I sort of forgot about my hesitations. A part of me still feels bad. A little part tucked away in a corner of what I reluctantly call my soul, for want of a better descriptor. I feel bad because I am part of making it harder for the physical book. Will the physicality of books become more expensive because of me? And then, when Amazon has us caught in its little evil hands, bang! Will it throw up the price of e-books as well and then all reading becomes too expensive? Hopefully there will still be libraries. But one thing my number-loving soul does rejoice in with the Kindle is that percentage-read indicator. I get to ninety percent and then all pile protocol goes out the door. Three books reached ninety-five this week, and there is one more at eighty-nine. All other books were shoved rudely aside in order for these four to be completed. With three quarters of that done, the rest of this week, I envision, will be all about book reviews. And then the exciting spine cracking moment of four new books. Oh, spine cracking doesn't work on a Kindle either.

List_Addict               Irene

So I start with Graham Greene's The Quiet American. It, along with Tatjana Soli's The Lotus Eaters and Nelson Demille's Up Country, was one of the Vietnam related texts I took with me when we travelled there earlier this year. Poor war-struck Vietnam, this novel about you, is set in the French colonial wars proceeding 'The' Vietnam War and, essentially, tells the story of two men's muted but real battle for the love of a Vietnamese woman—a metaphor for the ongoing battle for control of Indo-China. Its play on the linearity of time modernises it, but its mood is reminiscent of both Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment and Camus' The Outsider. It may be to do with that mix of sin and languid heat that emanates and turns action syrupy in all three novels. In some ways it is a simple story strung out. In others a slow ramble through colonialism. Reading it with other stories based in Vietnam, even though their time settings are all different, did sometimes confuse me a tad with the idiosyncrasies of each different war, but that is my fault, and not the fault of the book. Overall, though, I suppose it didn't grab me. It had a surprising twist but I didn't feel any real empathy with the characters. Maybe that's what makes it, as some claim, an anti-war novel. Effectively neither oppressor is acceptable and the true character—be it the Vietnamese woman Phuong, or Vietnam herself—never gets to tell her story. From that perspective it is an interesting read. I gave it three stars. As if I have the power to pluck them from heaven and allot them to fiction. I did anyway.


The Outfit
Coat: Op-shopped
Tights: Retail
Shoes: Irregular Choice


Photographer de Jour: V——


Who wore it better?

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5 comments:

  1. My sister loves her e-reader, especially because she can fully lay down on her side and still read comfortably. I think it would be great to get the books you want when you want, without having to run to the library. Although I love to go to the library.

    I saw The Quiet American film, and it was pretty good. It was a bit aloof, but interesting. Brendan Fraser can play serious quite well. I don't know why he doesn't do that more often.

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    1. I haven't seen the film and didn't realise there was a version with Brendan Fraser. I would find it hard to believe he wasn't going to do something silly, but I will keep an eye out for it. Xx

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  2. I need to find more time to read books ! !

    Lovely outfit,

    Amazing shoes and location, hope you're having a great weekend :-)
    Thanks for linking up to Share your Style Saturday

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  3. I love my e-reader though I also still like to hold a book in my hands.

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

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    1. I suppose we are lucky to have both options, aren't we? Thanks so much for stopping by.

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