Archive for category Books

2018.05.11 《1Q84》

网上挺多人都提到,《1Q84》不太适合第一次接触村上春树的读者。严格说来我不能算在此类读者中(很多年前随大流读过《挪威森林》,感觉不是太喜欢),但时隔多年后,阅读他的新书也可算是我为尝试认识村上重新做出的努力。

《1Q84》共3本1000多页(英文版),从厚度来讲可算是鸿篇巨著,但整个故事其实很简单,而且直到结尾这个故事还没讲清楚。细腻的心理描写是村上的风格之一,但这次确实做的有点太过了,连我这种沉迷于 George R. R. Martin 拖拉风的人都有点受不了。另一方面来说,事无巨细的描写可能会让有些读者产生更多共鸣,因为在阅读过程中对主人公命运的的疑惑和担忧基本都会在后文中得到确认或澄清,我虽然喜欢这种 ‘See! I just knew it!’ 感觉,但同时又急迫的想让故事进展快点。如果说村上春树在日本出名是因为本国读者接受这样的风格的话,那《1Q84》在国际读者中不温不火的反应也同样是摆它所赐。

《1Q84》的 ‘Q’ 代表 Question Mark,故事发生在一个平行世界里的东京,只有为数不多的几个人察觉到了这个世界的怪异,但到最后都无法理解,或许这就是书名的由来吧。由于村上固执的不阐述任何逻辑,每位读者都有足够的自由对主人公,对清洁,对书中描述的世界有着自己的理解,就这样看来,村上春树算是成功的。

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2017.09.20 Farmer Giles of Ham

话说《魔戒》作者托尔金某次和家人野餐时忽遇大雨,借一个桥洞躲雨,闲来无事就编了这个故事给儿子听。我只一个字,“服”!

这是一个和《霍比特人》一样老少咸宜的故事(不要被电影误导了,原著没那么血腥),讲的是一个非常幸运的农夫变国王的励志故事。薄薄一本书能同时兼顾轻松诙谐,文字优美,还能处处引经据典,托尔金作为语言学家的功力可见一斑。

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2017.08.15 Sapiens

It is rather rare to come across a book that is educational and interesting to read at the same time. Some focused on laying down a great deal of facts, but failed to or didn’t bother to connect the dots; and some couldn’t seem to get even the fact right (no, I am not talking about most of the self-enrichment books).

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari is a rather rare book.

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With more than 400 pages, it did not attempt to offer much that I didn’t know. Instead, the author spent most of efforts in rationalising why history of humankind progressed the way it did. In other words, connecting the dots and forming insights.

Though the title writes “history”, it is not quite a history book. Quite often, I found myself contemplating life and the choices I made in my life while reading it. It made me think about myself and for myself. How many history books, or books in general, do that?

It is rare also in the sense that the author values objectivity higher than political correctness. He questions things that we’ve all been taught positively, agriculture revolution and individualism for example, and “praises” capitalism for uniting the world. The unconventional ideas do not make the book weird, they make it insightful.

I recommend this book to all, not only to know our own story, but as a member of the master species of this planet, “Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want?”

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2017.06.12 David Copperfield (not the Magician)

断断续续的用了半年时间,终于读完了狄更斯的大卫科波菲尔。

刚开始还真有点不适应两百年前的英语,感觉有点像读惯了白话网络文学的中文读者回头去啃晚清小说,虽然语言类似但总是有那么一点点不自然。两百年的时间里某些单词的含义也经历了明显的变化,印象最深的便是 ”gay” 和 “want”。

狄更斯经常使用 “gay” 来形容心情高兴,这层意思在现代英语几乎完全消失。We had a gay old time down at the dance hall.

而 “want” 在大卫科波菲尔里更多有“缺乏”和“需要”的意思,而非“想要”。比如,For want of anything better to do I read newspaper for a while.

不得不说,虽然起步不易,但读到后面小说却越来越引人入胜。昨晚晚饭后硬是一口气冲刺读完了最后四章才意犹未尽地把书放下。

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2016.10.13 平凡的世界

最近花了几个月的时间断断续续的读完了路遥的“平凡的世界”。是好书吗?确实是。叙事平稳,结构清晰,人物刻画鲜明,某些段落的代入感很强。

但也是有某些方面我不是太喜欢,特别是觉得书中但凡高中教育的人物都多多少少有点为高尚而高尚的酸气。不知道是不是30多年前的知识青年受时代影响本来就这样,还是路遥过度的把某些人物保尔柯察金化了。

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2016.07.09 The Girl with All the Gifts

前几年吸血鬼泛滥,这几年流行丧尸。在大众对该题材开始有审美疲劳的阶段,有这样一本视角和观点都很新颖的小说出现,既偶然又必然。很多看过该作电影的预告说挺像The Last of Us的,我觉得基本可以判定为没读过此书。

语言简单流畅,学习英文的朋友们可以读读。

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2016.06.11 The Armageddon Rag

This is undoubtedly the weirdest book written by George Martin. Yes, many of his books are weird, but the creativity and Martin’s quite unique writing style normally offer tremendous fun to read. However, “The Armageddon Rag”, which is probably the 19th Martin’s books I read, is just weird.

Perhaps it is due to the cultural background that the story sets in. I am, after all, not grew up under influences of Rock n Roll nor I could easily associate myself to the anti-war movement took place decades ago in a foreign country. Throughout the book I found myself standing as a third person afar from all characters and utterly uninterested by things happening among them, a completely un-GRRM reading experience.

It appears that this book was indeed a commercial failure for Martin. It almost made him quit writing – this was the period in his life that he went to become a screenwriter. Fortunately, he gave himself a second chance in fiction book writing.

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