My 2011 reading plan

Posted by Marie on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 in , , , ,
I'll probably remember this year as the one when Jose Saramago & Christopher Priest were bitter rivals (in my mind, of course) for my literary affections.

It started when I read Blindness for the March book discussion. It was a painful but satisfying read, and I liked it so much I'd promptly declared it as my best book for 2011.

Photo from Locus Online

But then, a fellow book blogger, FFP member and friend, Peter, who was a bit concerned of my earlier dismissal of NYRB books, lent me Christopher Priest's The Inverted World (thank you so much!). He was convinced that I won't just like the book but love it. And he was right. It was a mind-bending read but it was very, very good.

When my ardor shifted from Saramago to Priest, I thought, this is a bit unfair of me. I can't easily dismiss someone who won the Nobel Prize in Literature. After all, I can't judge an author by reading just one or two of his creations, right? Thus, I made an imaginary contest between the two authors for the most-coveted prize of all: my best author & book for 2011.

So here's the tally & the plan so far (not that I have these books right now, though I do hope I'll acquire/borrow some of them soon):

Jose Saramago
Blindness (read)
Death with Interruptions (read)
The Double
The Gospel According to Jesus Christ
Baltasar & Blimuda

Christopher Priest
The Inverted World (read)
The Prestige
The Separation
The Extremes
The Affirmation

I ought to post reviews for these books, no? I'll do that as I go along, I promise. So what do you think, guys and gals? Is best out of five fair enough? Or should I read more?



Marie, a lot of people think that The Prestige is Priest's best work, and I agree! (Inverted World comes to a close 2nd, IMHO.) Nevertheless, his other books are very, very good too. I highly recommend The Separation.

As for Saramago, most people cite The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis as his best work. But Baltasar and Blimunda is a "fun" read. And The Gospel According to Jesus Christ is very, very interesting.

I'll change The Double to The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis then. Thanks for the tip, Peter! :)

I don't know yet about Priest but Saramago is always a provocative read. Which reminds me, I have several unread Saramagos.

What do you mean, Rise? Do you think Saramago's writings are controversial? Admittedly, most of the his books I've read had social & political aspects but imho, I won't say they are provocative.

Give me those books, I'll make sure they'll be read, hahahaha!

He was an atheist. The Gospel According to Jesus Christ was banned in Portugal, I think. The upcoming Cain is also a controversial novel. He's also an avowed communist. Will 'consider' mooching them to you once I read them.


But then again, almost all 'reconstruction' of the Jesus Christ story are controversial - considering the topic, they can't help being so (on the top of my head, I can tick off Christopher Moore's Lamb, Monty Python's The Life of Brian, and of course, Jesus Christ Superstar, to name a very few). A lot of authors are atheists. A lot too are communists. What sets Saramago different from them?

You realize I'm putting him down a bit. You see, I've just finished Death with Interruptions, and I was very disappointed. :(

@Pschomaticaddictinsane/Iya: I have an ebook. Want it?

What sets Saramago different from them?

I guess Saramago is a great realist. That is to say, for a book about disbelief, The Gospel can be believable and convincing.

Saramago uses magic realism as a writing tool, but is he a realist? He may be, if pessimism can be equated as such (which he admits he is).

Maybe we should continue this talk after I read The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. Which I'll do soon, that is, after finishing The Prestige (and Wicked). :D

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