From reading Low Life I wanted to read The Great Gatsby again, for the third time. It's been more than six years since last time and one of the things that were different was the speed of reading, it took me one day this time around. An excellent read which, I think, I might come back to again sometime. Good language, tight structure and a perfect balance between narrative drive and depth in such a short novel. I should also pick up Tender is the night one of these days.

17 March 2010


The real classic on the Adventure list. Second time I read it and it does get better. You just have to take the time for it. Ten pages an hour maximum, but that's okay. It can be quite dense at times, and yet it always makes you think. I don't suppose this book will ever get any easier. Still, I'm going to go back to it, another day. And hopefully some other books of his too. The Secret agent maybe.

31 March 2009


A new version and a sharper mind (in some ways at least), six years later, made this re-read a succesful one. The novel is certainly not perfect all around, in particular the boring final section, but most of it holds very well. It reads smoothly, at least once you get used to the dialects, the adventures are thrilling and the picture of Mississippi life, albeit quite violent, is a fine one. I remember my first take on Huck was a struggle and I didn't like it so much. But now, anno 2009, I'm glad to say that first impressions aren't always right.

12 February 2009


Zo'n zes jaar geleden dat ik dit voor het eerst las, zittend aan de Ouderkerkerplas volgens mij. De plot kon ik me nog altijd goed herinneren, maar dit boek gaat juist meer om de sfeer, het groeiende gevoel van frustratie. Hermans is op zich geen sadist ten opzichte van zijn personages, maar de omgeving waar hij ze in plaatst des te meer. Het is een knap gestileerd werk, Nooit meer slapen, maar tegelijkertijd ook zo makkelijk leesbaar. Waarschijnlijk is dat één van de hoofdkenmerken voor een echte klassieker.

1 Februari 2009


An historical novel people often refer to, especially because of its famous opening sentence ('The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there'). I felt like re-reading it. Suppose I read it in my first year, for Narrative and Poetics, and I remember liking it then. Liked it again this time; didn't bore but captivated again. It's like watching The Sixth sense for the second time: you know the ending and see everything clear from the beginning, but it's still interesting to see how it's done. The novel shows a good and subtle social picture and especially Leo is a very convincing character.

27 December 2008


An enjoyable re-read. Especially after such a while. I think it's been at least 5 years - this novel deserves to be picked up again. It's always nice to see which bits you remember and which have slipped your mind. Although in this case I still remembered the plot well, a number of important elements seemed almost new again. And I guess that's a good thing. Being older and wiser (hopefully) I could appreciate the book more fully, but I could enjoy the more straightforward things in about the same way. Maybe again in 5 years or so?

21 December 2008


It's been almost six years to the day since in first read Frankenstein. I remember being in Friesland with G. and T., but I didn't remember much of the book. Maybe it was a little too difficult then? In any case, it was nice to re-read now. I felt I could grasp a lot more, it didn't seem so difficult anymore. So, in 2008, Frankenstein is still exciting. It's an original, loosely written novel, not easy to categorize. And of course, Milton is all over the place, which makes reading Paradise Lost alongside it all the more interesting.

10 July 2008


It's been almost five years since I've first come upon Pride and Prejudice. It was one of the first books we had to read as English students. Although almost impossible to imagine now, back then I didn't know anything about this famous novel. Today though, its story seems almost too well-known. (Just to point out its absurd popularity: I remember a class about two years ago where almost half of the students present gave P&P as their favourite novel!) Luckily, for me this novel is not about the story at all. It's about irony, about understated comedy and silly characters.
Re-reading Pride and Prejudice in 2008, I was able to appreciate all these things more than I could back then. So, who knows, if this delightful novel keeps getting better in time I might pick it up again in another five years or so.

22 June 2008


Interesting to see how much you forget in a few years. I'd read this book before, in 2005, but reading it now it almost felt new. Perhaps it's because Mrs Dalloway doesn't really have a plot? Probably. Well, it's a good thing really. Since this re-read hardly felt like a re-read the book impressed me all over again. It was still as hard to go through as last time, but it was just as rewarding in the end. It's quite brilliant, the way the characters' minds are linked by all sorts of subtle remarks and parallels. And all the techniques Woolf uses - cinematographic cuts and zoomings, free indirect discourse - they still amaze me. Mrs Dalloway is certainly a difficult read, but once you overcome its resistance and start enjoying it you'll want to come back to it again and again. At least, that's how I feel.

27 February 2008

Oxford University Press, 2000
Originally published 1925


I first read this novel two years ago. While certainly appreciating it back then it struck me on more levels when reading it now, anno 2007. The many subtle references and puns can only be followed upon rereading; something Nabokov must have purposely designed. Pale Fire is one of the more difficult novels I've ever read, but if you adhere to someone's famous motto - stay the course - you'll find some nice treasures at the end of the rainbow. Especially recommended for readers interested in Postmodern fiction, cybertext and literary criticism.

27 April 2007

Penguin Books, 2000
Originally published 1962


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