Adventures in Reading


(First Time) Booking Through Thursday

After reading some Booking Through Thursday posts on my Google Reader, I couldn’t resist participating. This week was for “most unusual book you’ve ever read” and thus far all of the posts I’ve read on it are about unique, unusual, and/or interesting narrative structure. In addition to short stories have I yet to express my love for the breaking and smashing and experimentation away from the linear story line? The books, it’s a tie, that stand out most for me are:

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski and Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. House of Leaves is a “horror” novel told in altering chapters of a detailed essay referred to as the Navidson Report and the effect this has on the narrator. It’s dark, creepy, and took awhile for me to love it. Not only does Danielewski break conventional narrative structure but also conventional spatial structure as text in the book regularly appears upside down, in circles, blocked off, etc. There’s even a “letter” written where the first letter of each word spells out a secret message. Seriously.

Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce is considered unreadable by many, or at least, in the traditional sense. Anyone attempting to move from page one to the final page – I would have to question their sanity. So while I have yet to read Finnegan’s Wake in that since, it’s a book I regularly and randomly open and greatly enjoy. Eighty or more languages used throughout the book, complex story unfolding, and everything (at the very least) has a duel meaning.



Thrift Store Finds

Much to my surprise I arrived home the other day and my partner had picked up eight books for $2 at the thrift store. I seldom shop for books at the thrift store (despite the low cost) as I never seem to find anything worth while. Most used stores will have a decent array of trashy romance novels and beach read mysteries, but seldom have I found anything I felt an urge to purchase. Two of the finds in particular brightened my day: Nora a biography of Nora Joyce (James Joyce’s wife) and A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (a book I have always wanted, but I have a great aversion to the most recent cover). 

When I was younger I always demanded new books and delved into and enjoyed the crisp and clean pages. Unfortunately, my crush on things new lasted into my freshman year at college where I found myself a good deal poorer after purchasing new textbooks. Ah, the follies of youth. Recently, however, I have found myself at the complete opposite end of the new and used book spectrum as the well-loved and inexpensive books second hand stores promise have wiggled their way into my heart. Additionally, I am also fascinated with the lasting possibilities of books versus other print (i.e. newspapers, magazines) publications.

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