Monday, August 25, 2014

Speed Dating Round Four Wrap Up

In my latest round of books selected for speed-dating, I had to commit to being merciless. This is the blink, the first response, the gut reaction. If by page 50 I wasn't sold, out it goes.

I learned a few things for next time. If I know for sure I'm already going to read the book (Adler and Theroux), putting it in a speed dating pile is useless. Next time I'll only pick books I'm uncertain about.

A lot of books got the axe this time around!

Books I finished right away:

Deception by Philip Roth

Not that it was that great, just easy to read, almost all conversations between lovers. I got reprimanded by a friend who says this is not the era of Roth to start with. Can you really read the wrong book? Probably not. I liked it enough to try something else by him.

Books I will continue reading:

Wild Thorns by Sahar Khalifeh
This will go quickly and there are so few books set in the Palestinian areas bordering Israel, and this one is a long-lost son coming home to the West Bank, with the intent of working against the government.

Speedboat by Renata Adler

Enjoying although I'm not quite sure what it's about exactly.

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux

Shouldn't have speed-dated it, of course I want to read it. His writing improved noticeably in 30 years.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

I can't say I'm really enjoying this, but it reads quickly and I'm already at 67 or so. Of course, so far all that has really happened is a butler talking about what makes a good butler. This won the Booker Prize in 1989, so I'll finish it on principle. Not quite as engaging as Never Let Me Go.

Abandoned, with the reasons, R.I.P.

Hammered (Jenny Casey #1) by Elizabeth Bear
Meh to space mercenaries. Just not into it.

The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston
Just a little too gross for me.

Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart
Funny but that can only go so far.

The Fish Can Sing by Halldór Laxness

Starting to think if you've read one Laxness, you've read it all.

Light by M. John Harrison
Meh to space mercenaries.

Virtual Light by William Gibson
I love some Gibson but this one was too much about info-dump and I couldn't get into it. It allowed me to dump two books from my to-read shelf, since I had the second book in the trilogy on hand.


  1. Glad you're sticking with The Remains of the Day. It gets more interesting and, if I remember it correctly, it's really about memory and Stevens's self-deception. Is the world as we remember it really the world as it was? As it becomes clear, the answer is no. I loved this book when I read back in 1989, before I ever heard of the Booker Prize. I stumbled into the book since Ishiguro was at the local bookstore for a reading and on an impulse I went -- I still have my copy.

    1. It has definitely gotten more interesting, and I'm enjoying reading between the lines. Thanks for the encouragement; it led me to pick it back up sooner than I would have.

  2. I'm with Anmiryam! The Remains of the Day is in my top 15 favorite books. It is a book about regrets more than anything.

    1. Excellent, thank you. I will probably finish it this weekend because I am trying to space out David Mitchell.


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