Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Weekly Read: 2

This week was a big one for the LOST Lit List. Yay! I can't wait to get through more of the list.

READ: The Third Policeman | Flann O'Brien
The Third Policeman is on the Lost Lit List because Desmond appears to be reading it when the Hatch is first infiltrated by the Losties at the start of Season 2. The book is visible on Desmond's bunk in the Swan. I spent most of the week reading this one, not because it is long ("only" 200 pages), but because it is so dense, both with descriptions and ideas. It is so weird, and strange, and confusing, but still entertaining and amusing. My brain hurt for the majority of the week because I was trying so hard to understand what was going on. The end was so mind-blowing, though, that when I got to it, it's as if I put on a pair of glasses and suddenly, everything was in focus. Everything made sense, in it's own strange little way. The narrator spends much of the book talking about the theories of a strange man named de Selby, who is a fascinating character, despite the fact that he doesn't actually make an appearance in the novel. And the policemen's Atomic Theory is hilarious! I don't want to spoil anything for you, because you should read this book! But don't read the introduction, because they stupidly put major spoilers in it.

READ: The Invention of Morel | Adolfo Bioy Casares
The Invention of Morel is on the Lost Lit List because Sawyer is seen reading it while living at the Barracks during Season 4. This one is a read-in-one-sitting sort of book. I started it before going to bed one night, and ended up staying up an extra few hours to finish it. Not only is it short (103 pages!), but the action and quick-paced writing draw you in and keep you hooked. This is the diary of an unnamed man, living alone on a deserted Mediterranean Island. Well, he is sort-of alone, which is part of the delicious mystery.  People eventually come to the island, but who are they? Where are they from and how did they come to the island? The answers to this are mind-bending and fascinating. I would definitely recommend this one to the Lost fans out there.

STARTED: A Brief History of Time | Stephen Hawking
A Brief History of Time is on the Lost Lit List for a couple reasons. The first time it appears is during Season 3, when Alex, Kate and Sawyer go to rescue Karl from his brainwashing session. The man guarding the bunker, Aldo, is reading a chapter from it on black holes, highlighting it and making notes. We also see a copy later on in Season 3 in Ben's house at the Barracks.  This is another short book, but one that takes some time to read because the subject matter is so complex. So far, Hawking has done a fantastic job distilling the details of such complicated science down into something that someone like me, with almost no science training, can mostly understand. But man, it has been a LONG time since my high school chemistry and physics classes. Some of this stuff I vaguely remember, but I'm sure most of it we never even touched. The hardest thing to wrap my mind around so far has been particles, atoms, neutrons, quarks, and the like. Luckily, I just hit the fun stuff: Black holes!

STILL READING: Housekeeping Vs. the Dirt | Nick Hornby
Nick Hornby and I had a fight this week, and subsequently, I had to put this one down for several days. Normally, I have no problem with people preferring one genre over another. Don't like romance novels? Cool, don't read them. Not a fan of science fiction? Whatever, that's your decision. But when Hornby stated that he was trying to expand the type of stuff he reads by trying something he never would have picked up before, I expected him to at least give it an honest try. He picked a science fiction novel (Excession by Iain M. Banks), was embarrassed to be seen buying it at the store, tried reading maybe 20 pages of it, and then abandoned it, saying it made him feel stupid. I'm sorry, but that's a cop out. Seriously? You just read 20 pages, and then gave up on it?  That's not really trying. Plus, if you found Banks' work confusing, there are millions of other sci-fi books to try, many of which aren't also speculative fiction, which is inherently a bit confusing. Overall, despite the fact that he claimed the "metal-heads" who read sci-fi are smarter than him, Hornby's overall attitude in response to his limited contact with one sci-fi novel was very condescending.  As a reader of science fiction, I feel personally offended.  In fact, I had kind of gotten over my annoyance, and had even read a few more of the essays, but writing this blurb has stirred my frustration back to the surface, and so I'm officially saying: Nick Hornby, we're still in a fight.

That's it for this week. Next week will feature more from the Lost Lit List. I will have hopefully finished A Brief History of Time, and plan on reading Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll as well.  Happy reading!

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