Tag Archives: social commentary

The Millennium Trilogy

…which consists of: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

I’ve been putting off this write-up because I finished these books several weeks ago but I wanted to devote proper attention to this post. And I’m still going to be extremely vague. It was really, really fabulous. The trilogy was one of the most engaging, most stimulating plots I’ve read in a while. It really has something for everyone: gender studies, state of the art technology (not to mention technology namedropping), social criticism, media as an actor, mystery, and tons of sex. Really, the male protagonist sleeps with literally every main female character in the trilogy.

Nevertheless, highly highly highly recommended!


Infinite Jest

I am INFINITELY excited to be reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace! I obtained a copy from my good friend Matt Ford – go click on his website and tell him to blog more! So it’s hard to explain what Infinite Jest is about, especially since I’ve only read a chapter so far, so I’m going to cheat a little and just link you to the Wikipedia page and let the good folks there tell you all about it.

There’s a sort of informal online reading community for people reading it this summer – it’s quite cleverly called Infinite Summer – and I’ve been reading that voraciously as well! I’m obviously way behind because summer started well over a month ago, but hey, I’m going on vacation tomorrow until next week and it’ll be raining in lovely Ocean City, Maryland. I’ll try to update on my progress – I need to catch up to wherever everyone else is right now 1!

Matthew Baldwin recently posted this on the Infinite Summer blog:

Wallace is like the Lloyd Dobler of authors: he doesn’t woo you with flowers and chocolates, he stands outside your window with a boombox over his head until you relent.

If you love Lloyd Dobler as much as I do, that quote alone would make you want to read this!

1 I love the cute little “suggested” milestones on the Infinite Summer site… it reminds me more or less of reading chapter by chapter when I was in grade school. But back in those days, I usually just read the whole book in one night and was often not allowed to answer certain questions because I already knew how it’d end. Oops.

Fight Club

I guess I’ve been reading a lot of violent books lately… I swear it’s not on purpose! Anyway I read Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk because I always loved the movie (Edward Norton love all around!)

Fight Club is about an unnamed narrator who works for a car company as the safety recall analyst. He suffers from insomnia, among other things (ennui, general hatred of his life, etc.) One day he meets Tyler Durden, who is a super charismatic soap salesman who also works crappy jobs just to terrorize the modern consumer. They start a Fight Club, which is exactly like it sounds – a group of guys meet up and fight, mainly to relieve the stresses of living in what they find a vapid, consumer-driven society.

This book is pretty important, in my opinion, because it addresses society’s obsession with labels and material possessions. I know I’m definitely victim to brand-love but I also acknowledge that it’s unhealthy to be defined by one’s possessions.

For the record, the book is surprisingly very similar to the movie. There were several scenes that felt as if the actors just used the book instead of a separate screenplay. Then again, there were also other scenes that was added or removed or just tweaked. The denouement is similar (same great plot twist) but it’s also a little changed, which I feel results in a different mood to the ending.

The Prince and the Pauper

So I have to admit that the only reason I know the story of The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain (free at ManyBooks) is because of Wishbone… but I think it’s just one of those beloved stories that everyone knows. Also it was kind of weird to find out Mark Twain wrote it… it’s so Dickens-esque! It’s all very Oliver Twist but also snarky like you’d expect from Twain.

I really liked how it was historical fiction, using Henry VIII and Edward as the aristocracy, but obviously this didn’t happen. Anyway, I liked it overall. It’s a very short read but well worth it for the social commentary and such.

The Fountainhead

Just finished The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand on the train ride home today. I must say, I was impressed. Now having read both Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, I think I would say that I liked Fountainhead more. It might be that my ideas of society and the economy are pretty different from Rand’s, but I wouldn’t say I’m the complete opposite. But I felt that the ideas in Fountainhead were much more palatable to me than some of the more radical views in Atlas Shrugged. I also think I liked the characters better, like I liked Howard Roark and Dominique Francon better than John Galt and Dagny Taggart.

Anyway it might not seem like much but I’m proud to have read them both and feel like I learned a lot from them. Now I’m going to read a few shorter novels/novellas to kind of… wind down.

Atlas Shrugged

Now that I’ve graduated, I feel like I can take on giants such as Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. I wanted to be able to devote my full attention to them, so that’s why these are the first two books I’m reading this summer. It’s going pretty well actually. I’m about a quarter of the way into Atlas Shrugged, just finished Part I.

I’m really impressed with Rand, but I have to admit that I really can’t feel anything for the characters. I’ve talked it over with my fiancé, who loves Rand, and we’ve concluded that Rand just doesn’t write personable characters. And I have to be honest, she’s pretty preachy at times too.

But I’m trucking along, and while it’s not really “enjoyable” per se, it’s definitely enlightening and a great read.

Continuing filibusterismo…

Sorry – I’ve been reading El filibusterismo for a week already! I swear it’s great but I’ve been totally busy catching up with schoolwork and… getting engaged! Hopefully that’s a good enough excuse for not reading a lot for a few days, but I’ll get back on it.

Wish me luck – on both ends!