Books I managed to read when not playing on my phone recently

I am back to my usual self and habits now, so that means sneaking in a beer whenever I can (ha, that sounds so furtive), and to procrastinating with my reading by playing on my Samsung Note 2 at all times of the day and night. There’s just no way a book can hope to compete, so after I’ve checked Tour de France live comments on the Skoda Tracker, and browsed Twitter, RSS feeds and my guild website, the book gets about 5 mins of attention before I crash. On the way to work I play Ingress – that’s another post I suppose.

emigrants rigobertovoyage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, it’s no surprise that the most recent books read all get a lacklustre rating from me – they barely stood a chance. The Emigrants by Sebald was what I call “my sickness book” as it tainted my growing interest in history to the point where the association with nausea meant I thought I would have to throw it away. I felt physically ill looking at the cover. Remarkable! Although the critics would disagree (it won the Berlin literature prize) I thought it was his worst. 3 stars – and mainly for the Ambros Adelwarth story. I hope a dud Gall Bladder hasn’t ruined Sebald for me forever.

After that, history and war books lost their appeal, so I sought the ribald sensibilities of Mario Vargas Llosa’s “The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto” which was just what I needed. The Peruvian has quite an intellect and imagination, but read superficially the book is still quite an erotic blast, and I got an education about the works of Egon Schiele in the process. 4 stars.

Last was The Voyage by Australian Murray Bail, which I found both frustrating and contrived but continued to turn pages nonetheless. I have since read a very favourable review by John Banville who pointed out the uniqueness of the writing and the unpredictable elements, but I’m not convinced. 3 stars.