Saturday, September 17, 2011

Reading Matter

These days I have begun to get back heavily into reading, and I see that I will have to pay another visit to the library to replenish my store. I just finished luxuriating in a good old novel, The Codex, by Lev Grossman. I loved his fantasy novel of last year, The Magicians, a play on the Narnia books, which I read over and over again as a child and young adult. That was his first foray into fantasy, according to the reviews I read, but when I heard he had a new novel, a continuation of the Magicians, and couldn't find it at the library yet, I settled for an old novel of his, perhaps his first, called The Codex, having no idea what I would find.
I was immediately plunged back into a fantastic, partly-fantasy world of Grossman's making, a thriller-mystery about a young investment banker wonderkind who gets mixed up in the world of bibliophiles and scholarship, along with an unlikely cloak and dagger element. The plot is full of twists and turns, the writing sparkling, and despite a very few missteps in detail, it had me totally hooked from the start. I recommend it, and am looking forward to getting hold of the man's most recent book.
I also finally read Nicholson Baker's book The Anthologist, about a cracked poet, Paul Chowder, who is trying mightily not to write an anthology, but finally does it. The character was so close to the bone that it was almost painful to read, so it took me an age of bedside reading to finish it, despite the fact that it is indeed an excellent and heart-breaking portrayal of character. So now I'll be looking for something else to read. Unfortunately, that is not so simple. I discard more books after the first few pages than I read. Any suggestions?

7 comments:

marlyat2 said...

I have lost Grossman's new book and will have to buy a new one for the library if I don't find it!

Don't forget to toss an old one in now and then. If that's the sort of mood you're in, how about Wilkie Collins? I love "The Woman in White" and "The Moonstone."

marlyat2 said...

http://www.hogwartsprofessor.com/lev-grossmans-the-magicians/

Robbi said...

Thanks Marly. I don't care for Wilkie Collins, at least not what I have read, which was one of the two you suggested. But maybe I'll try it again. Our public library is so poor that when they buy new books they know will be popular, they charge to borrow them, something like a dollar for a week, and you have to bring them back right away because someone is waiting for them! It's a drag. I usually go to the University library, but they are hurting financially right now, and probably don't have it either.

Robbi said...

Thanks for the link Marly! It was distracting that the writer couldn't spell "Nabokov," but the stuff about this as a melding of modern and fantasy novel, genres that had heretofore been seen as incompatible, is good and interesting. I can in a way see what the naive person who hated the book (comments section) is saying: that it sucks the joy out of reading fantasy, but hey... we've got to grow up sometime, don't we? Or perhaps we don't... .

marly youmans said...

California is in bad shape financially, I know. I read an article comparing it to Texas: pretty astonishing.

I knew you would notice that... although I read an article by him where he spelled it correctly. I corresponded with him once. Interesting guy.

Granger talks about Rowling in the same mode, as a hybrid.

Robbi said...

But he puts her squarely in the "Romantic" tradition of Christian fantasy writers, or so it seems. Grossman, being born into a Jewish family, and whose name (Lev) means "heart" in Hebrew, isn't really an insider.

Robbi said...

Did you like Grossman's new book?