Book 249: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

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Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Finished reading on December 27th, 2017

Having spent the Holidays with the Incandenza family at Enfield Tennis Academy and with Marathe and Steeply in the desert and with Don Gately in the hospital talking to a wraith, I’d like to start out with the most pressing question in my mind: Why did I ever think I needed to read it?

That is one of those questions, like many that the plot of the book brings to mind, that are probably mathematically unsolvable.

When it is mentioned what the book is about, it seems that mostly a combination of such words and phrases as pursuit of happiness, entertainment and tennis might be represented.

But it should also be mentioned that there is a lot of violence against humans and animals, substance abuse on many levels, but also profound ideas about the human condition.

In Infinite Jest, there’s a huge cast of characters, who for most part are somehow interlinked, although you can’t see it at first. There appear to be three main themes that are intertwined and set the tone for the book – there’s tennis and other sports, there’s entertainment and there’s addiction. They’re not mutually exclusive and actually they’re all various forms of each other.

One of the important places where the book takes place is the Enfield Tennis Academy, where we find out about the lives of the Incandenza family: Hal, Mario, Orin and Avril “the Moms” and “Himself”. And then there are the other students and members of staff at the academy.

Another important setting is a Drug and Alcohol Recovery House, where we meet such characters as Don Gately and a veiled Joelle.

And then we have a rather random seeming desert where we find out about Marathe and Steeply, what the Great Concavity is and how they’re searching for a tape of the ultimate Entertainment, that makes anyone who watches is forget about all else and eventually die a pleasurable death in front of a screen.

It was a difficult book to read for various reasons – first the plethora of characters you have to be able to distinguish, the page-long paragraphs that just don’t seem to end and the fact that it’s not following a linear timeline – some things happen before or after or during and you’d be fortunate to realize that most of it is in the future, some in the past, but all of it is mixed up.

The second and for me more disturbing one was the violence and substance abuse, there were so many times when I just wanted to stop and quit reading it or just skip pages or do anything to escape another scene of someone dying etc.

However, now that I have spent over 50 hours with the book in close proximity, this much has changed:
* I feel like after Infinite Jest I can read anything, I feel it’s highly unlikely that there’d be anything more difficult in the world of books (that’s unlikely, but that’s my impression at this moment).
*I’ve been numbed to scenes describing people in various puddles of body fluids or emitting or ingesting fluids or solids or doing things to escape reality using chemistry.
*I wonder about when did the idea of entertainment even come about, and why is it so “important”.

Ofcourse if you need to know more about the plot and the characters, I’m sure any search-engine will lead you somewhere. As for this post, this is what the book made me think about:

The most pervasive idea for me was the one about entertainment. Doing something to spend your time, ideally something, that is fun, doesn’t require much effort and is attainable. So watching tv or any kind of videos would be an example of it. But it seemed to me that drugs and alcohol were presented as another option, as was watching sports. The main goal for all of those seems to be for someone to be happier or to have more fun. Can’t be exactly sure that it would be though. It seemed to me that the key was that entertainment is seen as a short-cut to happiness or oblivion or maybe not feeling, if we’d set goals or standards low. At one level the person engaging in any type of entertainment is either totally focused on it to the exclusion of everything, or is not focused on anything.

Is that possible?
I don’t know.

Another idea I picked up from the book was that of choosing. Why should we have options to choose from without the education about how and what and why to choose. In the case of entertainment, it might be easy in some case to say what is a “good” or a “bad” choice, but how do you choose between “good” and “better” or “bad” and “worse”?
I was especially troubled by that idea, because as a bookworm, my preference is of-course “reading books” – good vs. “watching TV” – bad.
But I remember a time when it wasn’t like that, and I’d spend days or even weeks watching TV as a kid; the only time I’d choose to do something else, like read a book, was when my brothers had control of the remote control, or when I thought nothing good was on TV, or when I was sent away somewhere where access to TV wasn’t guaranteed. But I cannot pinpoint the time when I started to prefer reading. I know it must have been at around when I was maybe 11-12. But was that because of something I learned at school or at home or was it just a random transition. Maybe in half of the parallel universes I’m a TV-addict and follow celebrity gossip. It sounds too horrifying to even think of it. I’m sure there’re other options.

I started listening to Daniel Kahnemann’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow” when I need to take a break from Infinite Jest. And Kahnemann made me think of how my first impressions and ideas about Don Gately and some other characters introduced with the connection to drugs or alcohol right off the bat and the history of their decisions versus the Incandenzas and the students at Enfield Tennis Academy were a definite example of how I saw the first characteristics of the people more strongly, to the exclusion of others; as I got further into the book, my impressions started to even out to a degree where I could see them on the same level and have less of my judgement interfere. I thought it a really neat way how Kahnemann’s book changed my view of Infinite Jest while reading it.

I’m going to think some more about Infinite Jest, but to finish up, there has to be a rating. So…
I can’t say it’s 10/10 because I feel that would signify a slight Stockholm syndrome and my happy emotion of being done with it. It can’t be 5/10 because I did appreciate the difficulties of reading it (I thought that’s the thing to distinguish it from being “entertaining”), and I did find the characters fascinating even though some were obviously out of my comfort-zone. I know I wouldn’t want to reread a book that I’ve given 7/10 or less before So..

Rating: 8/10

Because I think I could and might at some point read it again.

A thought on the actual reading part though – I think it’s really only possible to read it in huge chunks not in tiny little portions. I found it very difficult to get back to the story even for about 20 pages or so from each time I got back to reading it and I had the overwhelming desire to put it down and stop. But there was also the opposite effect – when I had reached the set goal of however many pages I wanted to read on a particular day, I always read further than that.

Some of my favourite quotes from Infinite Jest:

“[…] but like for instance where do you look with your eyes when you tell somebody you like them and mean what you say? You can’t look right at them, because then what if their eyes look at you as your eyes look at them and you lock eyes as you’re saying it, and then there’d be some awful like voltage or energy there, hanging between you.”

“But he’d also gotten a personal prickly chill all over from his own thinking. He could do the dextral pain the same way: Abiding. No one single instant of it was unendurable. Here was a second right here: he endured it. What was unendurable – with was the thought of all the instants lined up and stretching ahead, glittering.”

“There’s something elementally horrific about waking before dawn.”

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Book 238: The Dark Room by R. K. Narayan

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The Dark Room by R. K. Narayan

Finished reading on November 5th, 2017

Rating: 8/10

“The Dark Room” is a story of a family in Narayan’s created Maguldi.

There’s the head of the family – Ramani, secretary of an insurance company, who drives a car, goes to a club after work and expects things to be the way he wants them when he gets home to his family. There’s the dutiful wife – Savitri, who tries to please her husband and keep the household working. And the children – eldest boy Babu and girls Kamala and Sumati, and then there’re some household servants and a cook…

the story begins with the introduction of the family and their way of life and how Savitri would react to her husbands mean or angry moods – she would lie in bed in a dark room.

And then we meet a new addition to Ramani’s workplace – a young woman, who is starting work there. And Ramani goes on to be very “friendly” with his new colleague to the point where he at first just reaches home really late at night to where he only arrives at home in the early morning hours.

Savitri finds out, confronts Ramani and leaves home, only to return a few days later.

I think this is a really interesting story, as there is a certain amount of Jane Eyre like elements in the story. Sure, it lacks a romantic brooding Mr. Rochester, but in a way it’s Jane Eyre transposed to Malgudi as a mother of three children with a husband who has found another younger woman to spend his time with.

There are even whole sentences which have just a little bit missing from being Jane’s “I am no bird” speech when Savitri is looking for justice from her husband.

Ramani doesn’t see it though, and she leaves in the middle of the night, only to go through a similar, but noticeably shorter detour, during which she is saved from drowning by a helpful stranger, who in a way takes her in and helps her find a job, even though it’s for a short while – but it’s the elements of Jane Eyre’s story. The stranger doesn’t turn out to be her relative in any way though…

Savitri, as Jane Eyre, is determined to not accept charity, and to work for her food, as her husband had pointed out and as she herself feels, that she doesn’t own anything, everything has only ever been her father’s, her husband’s or her son’s. And she is happy when she gets to have rice that she has earned with work…

The end of the book is poignant though – Savitri has returned home, her husband has been in a good mood, but Savitri is still gloomy. The stranger who had helped her, goes past her street yelling out his services and she consider’s calling out to him, seeing as he looked hungry. But she doesn’t, as she feels that she doesn’t have anything to offer – everything is still only her husband’s.

It is a really short book, but it’s a powerful story and Narayan has brought out many opposing ideas -we have a family with the man being the dominating one, in Savitri’s and Ramani’s case. And one where the woman dominates in case of the stranger Mari who saves Savitri, and his wife Ponni. There is the idea that married women and prostitutes have a lot in common, with the difference being that married women don’t switch men… and then there’s Savitri’s understanding of how it’s really important that her daughters would get a better education than she did, so that they could earn a living on their own – I think that is the reason why Savitri returns home.

Book 234: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Finished reading on October 21st, 2017

Rating: 7/10

I always had the idea that somewhere in this book there would be someone counting sheep in their mind to fall asleep and wondering whether androids would be doing the same with electric sheep…. Well, I was wrong…

This book is not my usual kind of fiction book to read for several reasons – first if I read sci-fi it the book’s plot should better take place on a different planet or a moon, secondly isn’t it just a bit too mainstream?

I’m not going to get into the synopsis of the book, because that can be found anywhere else…

So my thought on this book: I’m glad it’s over. The end.

…..

I do feel like this book took me for a trip outside of my comfort-zone, which isn’t all that bad in itself.

*Androids as personal servants. Ok, why not. Though why not have them do everything else too? Humans are lazy, programmable robots however can be much more efficient, even in giving orders I’d think, so androids escaping humans sounds logical.

What doesn’t sound logical is having androids of two genders (as far as the book is concerned). Why? If you’d make them indistinguishable from humans, then you shouldn’t be surprised if they behave like humans. But that doesn’t sound effective – my question/idea arose from reading the part where Pris is encouraged to move to Isidore’s apartment where he could take care of her. That’s confusing. They’re capable of pretty much everything but a good cover for an android is living with a “chickenhead”? I wonder whether that’s for compatibility or some other reason that androids have genders…so that humans could relate to them better?

Now electric animals instead of real ones because a lot of species have gone extinct, very few survive and having an animal has become a status symbol – that’s an interesting idea. I remember as a kid wanting a remote-controlled dog when I couldn’t get a real dog, so it makes some sense. But it’s curious that androids aren’t considered as electric humans and as someone you should take care of and keep as pets, but rather as servants. So the latter serve a purpose, the former are merely symbolic and fake at that too. But I guess it’s more the culture – you have to have an animal or you’d be seen as odd, kind of like someone who doesn’t watch TV….

There were two things which I found most disturbing, should those ever come to life. First is fake memories. It’s been used elsewhere too ofcourse. But it’s just creepy.

Second is empathy boxes and Mercerism. So you take hold of the handles and feel what someone else is feeling and others can feel how you feel (kind of like the point-of-view gun in Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide, only it works both ways). Maybe I’m just (trying too or really am) not that emphatic so I would hate to feel someone else’s feelings and moods – partly because I feel it’s an invasion of their privacy even if they’re doing it willingly and secondly it’s making you feel different. However now think of what reading fiction does….. Aren’t they just empathy boxes with pages instead of handles? That’s a disturbing thought. Which is also why I find that any book recommendations should be really well-considered and thought-out. (At least when I’ve read a book on someone’s recommendation I still always connect them to that book…) But why should everything be shared?

Then just something I noticed – in case of names of people etc that I haven’t come across too much, or not at all, I find it difficult to assign a different meaning or character to it, so in my mind Mercer is connected to the Mercer in Eggers’ Circle and the Rosens are connected to Dr. Rosen from A Beautiful Mind….

And now for the last thing – mood organs are probably the most interesting bit of technology that is in that book. The ability to just dial a different mood and schedule your moods in advance -that’s quite intriguing. If such a thing existed, would I use it? On the one hand it goes against my idea of what a mood is and that would just be a setting… and I’d prefer to not have my moods changed even just by me… On the other hand I see how it might make some things easier – for example set it on a sociable mood and you’re willing to talk to people or a learning mood for those early morning lectures…

In my mind the most disturbing part in the novel is the bit with the spider. I do have empathy for the spider…Those awful bully androids…

So that’s what I thought about while reading this book. Unfortunately I finished it way past midnight, so my thoughts haven’t been organized too well.

What were your thoughts on this book?

Data remains my favourite android.

Book 230: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

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Finished reading on May 7 th, 2017

Rating: 8/10

I feel like I’ve been slogging through “The Fountainhead” forever. I approached it with curiosity and excitement as I had rather liked “Atlas Shrugged“.

In case of this book however, I made steady progress with it for a while, then hit a roadblock and almost decided to not get back to it at all and left it for months. Until a few weeks ago when I felt like I’ve made my peace with the character’s actions and can go back to it having pretty much forgotten what had driven me away.

But now to the plot and characters and the rest…

We first meet Howard Roark, the main character of the book when he gets thrown out of college, where he has been studying architecture, which remains his calling throughout the book. Another character we meet at the same time is Peter Keating who graduates successfully, already has a great job offer, but really he would rather have studied painting instead of architecture.

Now we get to the main part – one has a passion for architecture, for creating something original and functional and not following in the footsteps of anyone else and trying to reproduce ancient buildings etc. The other wants to be though as a great architect, follow the demands that anyone places on him and steal from historical buildings whenever necessary.

Roark has very high principles whilst Keating doesn’t seem to have any – Keating doesn’t really have the talent to get where he wants to get with his job, but does have a knack for weaselling his way into the good job, making the right connections etc.

At first I felt sad for Roark, because as he wants to follow his ideas and not conform to others in any way, he gets trampled under everyone’s feet with modern buildings that are ahead of their time, and doesn’t appear to be getting anywhere. At the same time Peter Keating is climbing the career ladder.

There are more characters connected to arcitecture in the book, but I’m going to skip over them.

Media and general public play an important role in the book in helping Keating gain what he wants and to keep Roark’s genius at bay by not giving him any slack. The media and general public are however controlled by some powerful and despotic people, whose activities seem to be at the border of insane and quirky. We have Ellsworth Toohey, an expert on architecture, who has a large influence on many successful businesspeople when it comes to choosing someone to design a building for them.

Then there’ Dominique Francon – a columnist at the New york Banner, the daughter of the architect Guy Francon for whose firm Peter Keating starts working for. She is one of the few female characters in the book, another one being Catherine Halsey, and then there’s Peter Keating’s mother…

Dominique Francon comes through as a strong, independent and very intelligent woman. She plays quite a big role in the book, but despite her part as a smart woman I didn’t really take a liking to her at first. There’s a relationship between her and Roark eventually, that drove me away from the book altogether. I had just started to see her as an interesting and relatable character, when something happened that to me seemed ultimately stereotypical taming of the shrew… (I think that I might possibly have been so disturbed by it exactly because I had found Dominique so relatable) and I took a break from reading it.

However eventually I got back to it to read some more of rather strange and illogical actions, that seemed to lead to a real dystopia, where the public’s opinion can be easily molded to a certain limit to accept rubbish as great masterpieces (The Gallant Gallstone and The Skin Off Our Noses), which seem so riddiculous, but scarily possible…

Enough of that though… I felt as if Rand could have been quoting Einstein: “How I wish that somewhere there existed an island for those who are wise and of good will.” in the whole of the book.

At first it isn’t as obvious, but it does seem to end up with few great geniuses against the easily affected mob of common people. I wonder what was she trying to say with that…

I could almost hear a maniacal lauch when Toohey is explaining to Keating ” If you learn how to rule one single man’s soul, you can get the rest of mankind”. And “kill his  capacity to recognize greatness or to achieve it”. I can see how that is just around the corner… A world full of mediocre people who don’t want things to change or anyone to be different or better…

Toohey’s a real menace. A really scary person, especially if they’re after power and against individualism.

I did end up liking and enjoying the book, and I think I will read it again in the future, since there are so many actions that are undertaken for a variety of reasons that I’d like to ponder on… Like the general lack of female characters, and how all three that are mentioned the most are connected to Peter Keating… Or how Peter Keating searches for Roark’s validation on his paintings… or capturing the spirit of someone or something in a work of art or in a building etc,

 

Book 229: The Guide by R. K. Narayan

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The Guide by R. K. Narayan

Rating: 8/10

“The Guide” follows Raju, who we meet at different times of his life, learning about how he becomes known as Railway Raju, how he works as a guide and meets various people, and how he ends up being called Swami and fasting in hope of bringing down rain on a drought-stricken area.

The characters in the book are fascinating and full of life and very well thought out. I really like how there’s barely any physical descriptions of people or places, but I could imagine the situations and people vividly.

What happens to Raju is all quite unexpected. To me the most interesting part was about Raju’s changing attitude throughout the book.

Sinec I’ve been a guide I found his attitudes towards that great -the excitement and enthusiasm and meeting new people who you only see once, and then there are the few exceptions that might stay in your life for a long time. And the eventual (though maybe not inevitable) decline into pessimism and boredom of having seen it all and talked about it to people who have been more interested in it.

Another bit that just made me chucklewas ofcourse the things that really do come up a lot when you’re a guide – someone’s asking about something you don’t know, you try and guess at the answer, and they obviously know better, or when they’re the one doing all the talking and you’re just learning about what you should have known before.

In general it’s a great Narayan book to read.

Book 224: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

Finished reading on August 22nd, 2016

Rating: 8/10

What would happen if a 19th century industrious person from America were to travel back in time to 6th century England? Soon enough you’d have telegraph lines, newspapers etc. getting mixed up with characters from Arthurian legends.

This is another book that I’ve recently read, that I’ve picked up before, read maybe a chapter or two, and put down thinking it’s rather boring…. But that was about ten years ago.

My motivation in picking this book for reading was my project in getting through as many books based on Arthurian legends as possible (one book at a time), the previous one having been the enormous T. H. White’s “The Once and Future King” (which I sadly forgot to review here, all I can say is that I preferred Malory to White, and found the first book better and more interesting than the rest).

I think that I appreciated the story as told by Twain more knowing what Malory had written. And I certainly enjoyed reading about the quite ludicrous story. If you’re looking for something hilarious to read, then this novel would be a great pick (there are parts that might not be too funny, but just you wait….)

I loved how Twain had brought to life his own characters, that were in the foreground and the legendary people were mentioned, had tiny but important parts to play, but were essentially the same as anywhere else.

I liked how the protagonist is seen as a wonderful wizard and how he competes with Merlin; how he changes the world and people around him, and especially the part where he and King Arthur go for an adventure in peasant’s clothes, and Arthur keeps thinking of plans to conquer Gaul :).

So in general a nice easy read with a story that will get a lot funnier as you get into it.

Book 222: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Finished reading on July 31st, 2016

Today I woke up with the knowing that I have to go to the bookstore as soon as possible to get this book. I went there, and got back in less than twenty minutes, took this picture with my cup of very creamy coffee and got on the way to get to know my childhood heroes’ kids.

It’s been a very long time since I reread any of the books, so picking up this play, I didn’t really have much of a connection to the characters although I’d been quite obsessed with them as a teen. And ofcourse the new generation is something totally different.

In order to keep this post spoiler free I’m not going to go into much detail about anything except just random thoughts.

The plot was interesting and the twists were as unexpected as they have been before in Harry Potter series.

I liked the choice of characters that the play is mainly following. I wish I could see the play on stage though, because a play gives you more of just plain bones of the characters.

There are some interesting themes in the play, but mostly it’s about family relationships and friendship, a bit of teen angst and famous fathers.

 

 

Book 221: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

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The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Finished reading on July 8th, 2016
Rating: 8/10

This is the story of the young Lily Bart who is a bit naive and definitely a follower of the fashionable crowd, and gets in some trouble because of it.

From the beginning of the book I really liked Wharton’s style of writing.

In this book we follow Lily Bart, a young woman, whose only close relative is an aunt Mrs Peniston, whom she lives with.

Lily has grown up appreciating good and expensive things in life and her plan is to marry a rich man. She spends time with rich people and takes part in their entertainments, that also include playing bridge, which lands Lily in a bit of a trouble to begin with – her allowance isn’t big, and she gets into debt playing cards.

Lily also gets in trouble because she’s naive and believes what people tell her – so when the rich Mr Trenor says that he could help Lily by speculating with her money and making some profit for her, she believes him – and why shouldn’t she? I believed him too.

However it turns out that the married (and lousy) Mt Trenor is instead just giving Lily money, which is the main problem in the book – Lily is poor and once she realizes where the money is coming from, she sees that she’s in dept to Trenor.

And other problems ensue.

The book has a quite unsatisfying ending in my opinion, but there’s some forewarning to it, so the last few chapter I knew what was coming, I was just hoping that maybe I’d be wrong. The conclusion does solve everything, but it’s sad.

I think one of my favorite characters was Miss Gerty Farish, who lives in a small flat and helps out Lily on occasion. She seems o be independent, not rich, but also not out to find a rich guy to marry like Lily.

The book reminded me a bit of Dostoevsky’s writing by the end – a bit of a depressing character, debts, sickness, but not as harsh as Dostoevsky.

Have you read anything by Edith Wharton? What would you recommend?

Book 219: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Finished on July 6th, 2016

Rating: 6/10

I picked this book up on a whim after seeing that a friend had recommended it to me on Goodreads. The description of it seemed fine and rating on Goodreads was great, so I gave it a chance.

It was good for two days’ entertainment, although I didn’t expect to read a book like that. I’m not going to give any spoilers here, since that’s a major part of the book why anyone would have to read it.

The book is about a few summers in the lives of Cadence Sinclair Eastman and her extended family – you get very few details about the family and Cadence – just enough to know that they’re rich and they spend summers on a private island.

Then something unexpected happens – and for the longest time we get the impression that something only happened to Cadence – she has amnesia and migraines and has bits of memories that she can’t really put together.

And you start finding out more as Cadence gets back on the island for another summer just hanging out with her three friends – Gat, Mirren and Johnny.

It all starts out fine, but then it gets darker and darker until it all concludes in a flash of lightning and everything becomes clear.

I liked the style of writing – the glib descriptions of characters and the bits of fairy tales around the theme of three sisters. What I didn’t like were the actual characters, and how they don’t seem to ever do anything (besides eating, drinking and sleeping with the occasional swimming here and there), and I really didn’t like Cadence’s and Gat’s relationship – she’s obsessed with him in a way that to me seems unnatural.

We Were Liars was an interesting book, it does keep your attention, and it sucks you in until it’s too late to get out before you find out what has happened.

It was a good book to read, but I didn’t really like it…if it makes any sense.

 

Book 217: Le Morte D’Arthur, Volume II by Sir Thomas Malory

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Le Morte D’Arthur, Volume II by Sir Thomas Malory

Finished reading on June 17th, 2016

Rating: 8/10

It took me almost exactly two months to finish reading the second volume after finishing first one. I didn’t start reading it right after, and had time to finish six other books in-between.

So I’m almost certain that anyone who’d read this review would already know quite a bit about Malory’s “Le Morte D’Arthur”, so I wouldn’t really need to write what it is about.

Still – it’s about King Arthur and his “Knights of the Table Round” – of Sir Launcelot and Sir Gawain and others, their jousts and quarrels and saving damosels in distress, their search for the Holy Grail and other adventures perilous. (You’ll end up using strange words by the end of it.)

I found that in this volume the most interesting part was the one about the Holy Grail – it felt like the pace of it was a lot faster than in other parts. Also it was quite eyeopening, as I didn’t know much of Sangrail and of it’s details, so that was fun – how and when and to whom it would appear etc.

So what actually happens?

First off there are some characters with quite difficult family relations – Sir Mordred for example – King Arthur is his father and his uncle, and their relationship is not passing good at all. And then there’s Galahad and Sir Launcelot, the latter names Galahad a knight, whilst neither yet knows that Galahad is Launcelot’s son.

Then we have the women – not many in all of it, but they’re not really sensible people at all (although maybe a knight in shining armor riding on a white horse is simply irresistible?) and always end up in some kind of trouble – take for example Queen Guenever who hosts a dinner for 24 knights after she’s told Sir Launcelot to leave Camelot. A knight is poisoned and although her reason for holding the dinner was to show that she’s just as friendly with other knights, it backfires, no-one likes her and Sir Launcelot has to rush in to save her (or otherwise King Arthur had asked Sir Bors to fight for her honor, so that might have worked too).

The things I found surprising – how much religion, fainting and weeping is in Le Morte D’Arthur. Also that you can find a hermit pretty much wherever you go…

I like the idea of the Arthurian Legends, but the characters all have some kind of mortal flaw.

My favorite quote comes from King Arthur:

“Wit you well my heart was never so heavy as it is now, and much more I am sorrier for my good knights’ loss than for the loss of my fair queen; for queens I might have enow, but such a fellowship of good knights shall never be together in no company.

… because he just likes to hang out and watch sports with his buddies…

I am slightly worried that having read this and not having had enough of chivalry and knights I might get too much into medieval literature and Arthurian legends… I did enjoy reading it although the characters lacked something.

Whilst reading the second volume of Malory’s book I found myself thinking back on the time when I was learning about medieval literature at school (was it 8th and 10th grade maybe?) and I remember thinking that that time period in literature was the most boring of all – I just liked literature from the beginning of 19th century up to 20th century and stopping just before the Second World War – later and earlier writing was not to my taste.

I think maybe even when I did read some excerpts from some medieval literature in class, maybe I just couldn’t have appreciated it anyway? Or maybe had I had enough motivation I would have found it fascinating as I do now?

I’m starting to see all literature as something that I want to get better acquainted with and not just stick to my comfort zone.

Another thing I realized while reading this, second volume (hadn’t thought of it while reading first volume at all), was that I want to find out more about the history and any other related literature (which I certainly will do at some point), that’s quite different from having watched BBC’s Merlin on Netflix and thinking “oh it would be cool to read something that the characters are based on or inspired from”.

I would recommend reading all of it, if you feel like it would be something interesting for you, otherwise some chapters would be sufficient.

Not much of a review, but I’m just glad I wasn’t forced to read it, I can see how that would have made reading it awful.