Disappointing book day

April 14, 2007

Although Saturday is typically a good reading day, today was frustrating on several fronts. Imani’s new banner prompted me to visit the shelves looking for my copy of William Blake’s works. After several passes the realization set in that I no longer had it- either I loaned it out and it was never returned, or it was something that someone had interest in that I gave away. The larger frustration was with myself for not doing a better job of organizing my books- the search should have been much easier. I am curious how others organize their books- alphabetically by author, or grouped in some logical manner?

The good thing is that I stumbled on a book that Imani also mentioned in a recent post- Voss by Patrick White. That was frustrating as well since I know it has been there for about 15 years- I am again reminded of the number of books I have purchased at some time and have not found the time to read them.

My reading time was spent with one of the latest books from the Canongate mythology series. The anticipation of the pleasure of starting a new book was high, especially from a series that I have been enjoying. The book is from a highly touted, relatively young Russian author, Victor Pelevin.

pelevin.gif
Those of you familiar with the series know that many of today’s top authors have been asked to rewrite some of the world’s well-known myths in a modern or memorable way. Margaret Atwood delivered the wonderful Penelopiad, and Jennette Winterson also did an awesome job with Weight. The Helmet of Horror is Pelevin’s rewrite of the myth of Theseus, the Minotaur, and the famous labyrinth.

The first few pages were intriguing and made me hopeful. The story starts with an entry from Ariadne-

“I shall construct a labyrinth in which I can lose myself, together with who tries to find me- who said this and about what?”

The entire story is written in the format of a chat room, with each of the “characters” trying to figure out what is going on. The cast of characters consist of the likes of Organizm, Nutscracker, Romeo-y-Cohiba, and Monstradamus. The idea soon becomes tiresome, but one reads on hoping at some point to “get it.” I didn’t. It just didn’t work, at least for me. If you haven’t read any books in the series, I strongly suggest that you start with any of the others. This is not a judgement of the body of work of Mr. Pelevin. Based on the other authors chosen for this series, I’m quite certain that he deserves my attention. I just wish I has been introduced to his talent with a different book.

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3 Responses to “Disappointing book day”

  1. imani Says:

    Aww, sorry to have been the source of such frustration. :p My books are stacked and shelved as whimsy guides me. My collection is still under five hundred–some of them back home on the island–so things have not become so desperate that I need to go the boring route and alphabetize.

  2. Dorothy W. Says:

    I have fiction and some nonfiction alphabetized by author, and then I have separate small sections of nonfiction and poetry that are small enough to be completely unorganized. The nonfiction sections are things like philosophy, essays, and religion.

  3. Stefanie Says:

    Sorry about your disappointing book day. The books that make onto the shelves are pretty organzed alpha by author with separate sections for fiction, classics, nonfiction, and poetry. The books that aren’t on the shelves are in random piles I pretend have some sort of organization.

    The Pelevin book sounds great. I’ve got all the myth books but haven’t read one yet. Not quite sure what I’m waiting for.


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