Monday, November 17, 2003

All this stuff that gets thrown at us by our high school english teachers. Only later do they un-repel us enough for us to realize that some of them (though not all) are actually pretty good. But what about those that we didnt even get to hear about in the first place? And so I present just two for now:

Two Great Books you probably have not heard of:

Flann O'Brien's At Swim Two Birds
This is the book that Dylan Thomas was referring to when he said "This is just the book to give your sister if she's a loud, dirty, boozy girl!"
Although overshadowed by Joyce's Finnegans wake which came out at the same time, this book is much more readable (I know, not saying much) and much funnier. His clever monologues about booze make it clear that O'Brien can get as intoxicated by words as by drink.

Di Lampedusa's The Leopard
One of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. This is the kind of book you open just to read random passages. Di Lampedusa was a Sicilian Prince who loved literature. He wrote this book, his only work, near the end of his life and, tragically, only lived long enough to hear from one publisher that it was un-publishable. In Italy this novel often appears in polls of the greatest Italian novel ever written.

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