Daniel Williams

Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Favourite Reads of 2011

In American, English, Japanese, Literature, Miscellaneous, Russian on 26/12/2011 at 14:11

Presented- a list of the books I most enjoyed this past year. Circumstances gave me a chance to read more than ever this year. My selection is personal opinion and includes novels, short story collections and non-fiction.

Ray Bradbury- Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962)

Fyodor Dostoyevsky- The Brothers Karamazov (1880)

Bob Dylan- Chronicles, Volume One (2004)

Jennifer Egan- A Visit From the Goon Squad (2010)

F. Scott Fitzgerald- The Beautiful and Damned (1922); The Great Gatsby (1925); This Side of Paradise (1920)

Ernest Hemingway- In Our Time (1925)

Carson McCullers- The Heart is a Lonley Hunter (1940)

Yukio Mishima- Death in Midsummer and other stories (1966); Thirst For Love (1950); The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea (1963); Spring Snow (1966)

J.D. Salinger- Franny & Zooey (1961)

John Updike- Your Lover Just Called (1980)

Kurt Vonnegut- Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)

Steve Waters- The Secret Life of Plays (2010)

Richard Yates- A Special Providence (1969); The Easter Parade (1976); Young Hearts Crying (1984)

Advertisements

‘Fevre Dream’ (1982) George R.R. Martin

In American, Book Review, Literature, Review on 18/12/2011 at 09:26

Recently, when asked what I was reading, I said ‘A book about vampire on steamboats’, but that description makes Fevre Dream (1982) sound more fun than it is. Over the last couple of months I’ve been reading George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. I find the books compelling, despite my misgivings with Martin’s writing style and decide to try one of his other novels.

Fevre Dream begins in 1857 when down-on-his-luck steamboat captain and owner Abner Marsh is given a business deal from the mysterious Joshua York. York offers to fund the building of a brand new steamboat that will be the pride of the Mississippi River. But Abner gets his steamboat at a price- Joshua will be onboard as his co-captain, and brings along his odd friends who only ever seem to appear at night.

If you have any awareness of vampire tropes you’ll be able to tell where the story is going. There’s ‘good’ vampires and ‘bad’ ones. There’s a chapter about the history of vampires. There’s a human helper who’s been promised that he’ll be made forever young… you can see where it’s all going. I have no problem with genre fiction, it’s just this novel uses the tropes without doing anything particularly different or interesting with them.

This was not nearly as compelling as even the weakest of the Song of Ice and Fire books. It just wasn’t as out and out entertaining as a book about New Orleans, vampires and steamboats sounds.

%d bloggers like this: