Avox in Arcadia (perpetual) wrote,
Avox in Arcadia

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I Do Still Read Books Lately

I'm most of the way through The Gulag Archipelago Vol. 2, and I gotta say, I'm proud of myself. I've plugged through difficult books before, but sometimes I get to the end and can't recall a word of what I read. Given that history is a particularly weak area of mine, I thought Solzhenitsyn would be all but impenetrable. It turned out that I read the first volume for real and now I'm genuinely engrossed by the second.

Rather than trying to say anything about the content as a whole, I'm going to quote a footnote that really hit me where I live (you'll see why). It's not representative of the whole book but I feel like it says a whole lot about the author and why readers can respect and trust him.

In the consistent struggle against the individuality of a man, first they deprived him of one friend - the horse, promising a tractor in its place. As if a horse were only draft power for a plow, and not, instead, your living friend in sorrow and happiness, a member of your family, part of your own heart! And soon afterward they began a persistent campaign against his second friend - the dog. Dogs had to be registered; they were hauled off to the skinners; and often special teams from the local soviets simply shot dead every dog they came across. And there were no hygienic or miserly economic reasons for this - the basis was much more profound: After all, a dog doesn't listen to the radio, doesn't read the papers; he is a citizen who is, so to speak, beyond the control of the state, a physically strong one, moreover, but his strength goes not to the state but to defend his master as an individual, without regard to any kind of decree that might be issued against him in the local soviet and any kind of warrant they might come to him with at night.

It's been a while now since I finished The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I think I like reading stories about slavery because from the modern perspective, it's such a clear and unambiguous evil that we can't easily imagine thinking any other way. But at some point, people did, and even the goodhearted ones like Huck had a hard time unlearning what they had been taught. It's a deep dive into difficult morality questions that I don't see so much in more recent novels.

Dreamhearth felt a lot longer than it was; Jahir and Vasiht'h are sweet, but their meandering can get old. As far as the xenotherapy sessions go, I'm more interested in the worldbuilding of the differences between species/races than I am in the way dreams are employed, but it seems like the author is more interested in the latter. Anyway, I might take a Peltedverse break or I might not; depends on how soon I need something non-classic for the Kindle.

So that's what took me so long to get started on The Great Gatsby, but I'm a few chapters in now and I like it. Cool narrative style, some interesting albeit not very likable characters, not much I can say about the plot yet.

I'm also currently reading After the Golden Age, which a friend gave me a year back or so. It's in the superhero genre, which feels odd in this medium, but I'm enjoying it in a beach book way.

I sort of forgot that I wanted to start reading comics again, but I did finally replace my copy of Preludes and Nocturnes, the first volume of Sandman. I've never owned the entire series - initially borrowed it from a friend in my teens and I don't think I've actually read through the entire thing since I gave it back. At one point I found the first five at a used bookstore and have been looking for the other five in the same out-of-print edition since then, and the first one for almost as long after I loaned it out and never got it back. I figure it's about time to get well-versed in it again, what with the Netflix series coming up.
Tags: a book i read, six steps to neil gaiman

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