Monday, May 13, 2013

What I'm Doing 39

What I'm reading (non fiction) Metamorphosis by Frank Ryan

. I'm about three quarters of the way through,and so far the topics covered have been metamorphosis in arthropods and insects, and the various theories of how both or these evolved.  One intriguing idea introduced in the book is that humans go through an incomplete metamorphosis at puberty.  It's fascinating stuff.

What I'm reading on my Kindle (fiction): This Book Will Save your Life on my Kindle by A.M. Homes.

This is the second A.M. Homes book that I've read (after her short story collection, The Safety of Objects), and I like her direct and witty style.  Richard is wealthy and lives on the West coast of the US.  He has invested in all the mores of modern living: his food is supplied by a dietician, his exercise regime is dictated by a visiting physiotherapist, and he seems to be a regular at his physician's and dentist's.  On the day that a hole appears in the mountainside close to his house he discovers his neighbours.   For me, it is a novel about isolation and regret - which makes it sound a lot less fun than it is.

What I'm reading in print:  Talk Talk  by T. C. Boyle.  This is also American modern fiction and follows two main characters: one a deaf teacher who loses her identity, and the man who steals it.  It's got an interesting structure: dipping into one life and then another.  Neither character is perfect, and I don't feel particularly sympathetic towards either of them.  I like this.  For me, it is more important that a character should be realistic and interesting than 'sympathetic'.  It's an exciting read, very well paced with a lot to say about societies attitudes to people with a disability, and the terrifying aspects of identity theft.

What I'm listening to:  A Delicate Truth
- John Le CarrĂ©'s latest.   It is narrated by the author himself - very successfully.  It's an absorbing book: one protagonist's story following another, and I feel confident they will all come (satisfyingly) together at the end.  I was interested to read in this article on the BBC news website that John Le CarrĂ© spurns literary prizes, though it doesn't say why.  He has this in common with Richard Feynman who said something like doing the work and achieving a scientific result was reward enough in itself.  The prize was unnecessary.

Which brings me to what I watched last: The Fantastic Mr Feynman.  This was a new documentary about Richard Feynman's life, and excellent it was too.  These days, TV biographical documentaries tend to quite often trivialise their subject, but this programme managed to include just enough to gain an impression of character (with interviews from relatives and people who worked for him, like the author Marcus Chown) together with a summary of his work.

What I also watched: Star Trek Into Darkness which I watched in 3D and, as usual, got a headache.  I was interested to find out why.  Some of the effects were good (my favourite part was where Kirk and Khan were propelling themselves through space and narrowly avoiding debris), but it always seems so much hard work to watch a movie in 3D that I am not sure it is worth it.  I though it a really good movie with some very exciting action sequences, but came away feeling I'd seen it somewhere before (which Hodmandod Senior says in fact I have - this being 'reboot'... d'oh).  Benedict Cumberbatch was brilliant as Khan.


Blogger jem said...

I've read a few by Homes - and am not convinced I like her style - although The End of Alice was a book I'll never forget.

The Boyle sounds great - I'll check that out. I like unsympathetic characters if they are well done. I like to think of myself as an unsympthetic character, but hopefully well done?!

Thu May 16, 11:43:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Ah, you're so well read, Jem! I was just thinking of starting 'The End of Alice' this morning, but thinking now I may go on to a Richard Powers instead, maybe the Goldberg variations.

Very funny about yourself as an unsympathetic character - more of this sort of thing, I say. :-)

Thu May 16, 12:59:00 pm  

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