Nine months of books

It’s here again, the quasi-regular look at books the blogger finished reading in the past months. This time containing several re-readings “[r]” of favourite ones. And as it usually happens, read it and you’ll learn more about the blogger than about the books.

Zen A japanese form of knowledge” [r] (“Ζεν Μια γιαπωνέζικη μορφή της γνώσης”) Editor: Sokratis Skartsis
An awesomely curated collection of classic zen texts of different eras and forms.
This is one book in a (greek) series of iconic world texts, which I had the outstanding luck of having since I was a teenager. I found the significance of its texts growing richer with the years.

Luminous” by Greg Egan
Very good scifi short stories collection. I’d say that I do have an issue with Egan’s wry style, but the ideas are great and a couple of stories are phenomenal.

Copenhagen” [r] by Michael Frayne
My favourite theatrical play of all time (yes this comes from a theatre geek).
An insignificant real incident between physicists is the pretext for an energetic take on everything in life, on all scales from personal development through to physics to the largest events in history, told with tons of theatrical style.

The accidental malay” by Κarina Robles Bahrin
A poignant and well-written commentary on Malaysia’s social and religious issues, disguising as a light romantic tale. Also, for those just curious about getting a taste of malaysian style, trivia, culture, this is the right book for this as well.

The devotion of suspect X” (“容疑者Xの献身”) by Keigo Higashino
There is only one thing worse than scandinavian crime novels: japanese scandinavian crime novels.
In this one the writing is bad, the plot twist is idiotic, and the morality is abysmal.
(As a rule, on a moral level crime stories take the side of the underprivileged; not this one, my friend, nooo. Also as a rule, plot twists are at least decent; here we have the equivalent of someone taking a coin and hiding it behind his back in front of our very eyes while calling it a cunning sleight of hand.)

Mona Lisa overdrive” [r] by William Gibson
I don’t rate books by Gibson. But this (classic cyberpunk novel) is among his best.

How to read Lacan by Slavoj Zizek
3 and 8
A quirky application of Jacques Lacan’s theories to pop culture, this is one of those puzzling books that deserve a double rating. During much of the time it offers striking insights into the human way of operating, both at the individual and the collective levels. Othertimes, it dumbfounds with its depths of idiocy. Often, these two happen within the same paragraph. But what would one expect from the person who said that the Syriza party was a tragic figure.
PS: To be fair, he later changed that last opinion of his; which somehow is oddly fitting with the above.

Unmasked by Andrew Lloyd Webber
The autobiography of the person whose autobiography I’d like to read the most. It’s also exceptionally well-written. My only complain is that it doesn’t contain much towards describing inspiration or artistic processes. But then again, how could raw talent be put into words.

The words they feared the most” (“Πιο πολύ φοβήθηκαν τις λέξεις”) by Evi Voulgari
An incredible freshly-minted book, part dystopia, part teenage novel and part greek reality… also political thriller with lock-down echoes and historical literary tribute…
It definitely spoke to my sensibilities about a western world that’s breaking down and changes the meaning of words (such as, say, “massacre”) among its bloody ruins.
(If you are greek and reading these lines, go pick it up.)

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