All posts filed under: LSS: Literary Snobbery Series

Literary Snobbery Series

The LSS Book List, Part 10

Visit the The LSS Book List page for more information about this post. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (1919, M) – A short story cycle with the town’s newspaper reporter as its main character, this book this have much in terms of plot. But in terms of emotions, it packs a wallop. It is raw, honest, and just tenderly beautiful. This is Anderson’s most famous work and considered by many critics as his masterpiece. After finishing it, I consider it as the best book that I have ever read. If you love modernist works and if you value characters over plot, this is a good book to pick. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (2009, L) – It is a bit of a struggle to get into the narrative voice of the first book of Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell series. I even had to reread it when I lost it. But when you get into and attune yourself into its rhythm, it does deliver. The pronoun usage may be confusing, but the thrill and court intrigue can …

Literary Snobbery Series

The LSS Book List, Part 9

Visit the The LSS Book List page for more information about this post. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (1927, L) – Known as one of those difficult landmark novels of modernism, this is a novel that tackles on life’s difficult questions. Simply put, it’s about the Ramsays’ trip to the lighthouse postponed for nearly a decade. We all know that, but what we need to know are the little miracles that the author has created in depicting the lives and thoughts of the novel’s characters. True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey (2000, L) – Who is Ned Kelly? Is he a hero or a villain? If you are interested to read an alternate history of the infamous person, read this. Caveat emptor: this is written as if an illiterate person wrote it. Well, it is supposed to be an autobiography of Ned Kelly himself. As it goes with most autobiographies, this is one that seeks for the truth. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (Veinte poemas de amor y …

Literary Snobbery Series

The LSS Book List, Part 8

Visit the The LSS Book List page for more information about this post. Six Characters in Search of an Author (Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore) by Luigi Pirandello (1921, M) – A theater company are in the middle of a play rehearsal when six people disrupt them. According to them, they are characters who have unfinished stories. Hence, they are demanding for their stories to be told. The director of the company agrees, and what follows is absurdity that blurs reality from fiction. Snow Country (Yukiguni) by Yasunari Kawabata (1935, M) – A man from Tokyo and a geisha from a hot spring town have a love affair. The geisha develops her artistry to be as refined as the city geishas. The man from Tokyo falls for another woman. The scenes in this book are short but there is something overarching above them in a grand manner, as if the scenes were trying to portray something bigger than their own. Steps by Jerzy Kosiński (1968, H) – I’m not even sure if this is a …

Literary Snobbery Series

The LSS Book List, Part 7

Visit the The LSS Book List page for more information about this post. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (1895, L) – This is a short novel about war that is written by a person who has never been to the thick of a war. It ponders on the nature of fear, cowardice, courage and heroism with realistic impressions of battles. If you want to know what goes on inside the head of a soldier in action, pick this up. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989, L) – I’m collecting the striped Vintage editions of Ishiguro’s back list but I haven’t really bothered to go through them. But by all means, let’s put this title, the first book that I ever discussed with our book club, on this list. It’s a meditative book on greatness and dignity through the silverware, I mean lens, of a butler. Remembering Babylon by David Malouf (1993, H) – The first ever winner of the IMPAC Literary Prize, one of the richest awards in the bookish …

Literary Snobbery Series

The LSS Book List, Part 6

Visit the The LSS Book List page for more information about this post. No One Writes to the Colonel (El coronel no tiene quien le escriba) and Other Stories by Gabriel García Márquez (1961, M) – GGM is famous for magical realism, but that doesn’t mean that he’s only as good as One Hundred Years of Solitude. Try this collection of realist short stories (no insomniac towns, traveling blood, or women rising up to the heavens above) and you’ll realize that the man is indeed a master of the written word. The last story can’t help Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) by José Rizal (1887, H) – I had a little trouble with this entry because this is required reading in Philippine high schools. But this isn’t internationally popular like those European or Latin American or Japanese novels. And how about reading this for pleasure and in a translation other than Filipino (in my case, English)? Or better yet, how about in Spanish? Number9Dream by David Mitchell (2001, M) – Eiji Miyake has never …

Literary Snobbery Series

The LSS Book List, Part 5

Visit the The LSS Book List page for more information about this post. The Love of a Good Woman by Alice Munro (1998, H) – In this collection by a contemporary short story master, ordinary lives are transformed into something that matters to the universe. The stories have underlying themes of secrets and revelation. Of love and, of course, love. The vast oeuvre of Munro makes it hard to select a starting point. This is a good start. The Master by Colm Tóibín (2004, H) – A beautiful homage to The Master, Henry James. It begins with his unsuccessful beginnings until he secluded himself to write his masterpieces. There’s a thrill in the way it’s written while altogether keeping lyricism intact. It’s something that should be read to further understand the inner workings of writing with no less than a literary master as the subject. A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr (1980, H) – This novel is one of the three novels recommended to me during our novel writing workshop. It tells …

Literary Snobbery Series

The LSS Book List, Part 4

Visit the The LSS Book List page for more information about this post. Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner (1984, M) – Edith is told by her friends to take some time off, find herself, realize her mistakes, and become a mature woman. She checks in at Hotel du Lac, trying to convince herself that there is no need to do what her friends told her to do. The guests of Hotel du Lac force her to look at things in retrospect, particularly Mr. Neville. Although some furor arose when it won the Booker in 1984, this is nevertheless a contemplative novel on exiles and the exiled. The Hours by Michael Cunningham (1998, L) – Three women from three different decades are affected by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. First is Virginia Woolf herself, who is writing the novel. Second is Laura Brown, a suburban mom who is reading the novel. Third is Clarissa Vaughn, fondly called Mrs. Dalloway by her friends and rightly so, for she mirrors the life of Clarissa Dalloway in many so many ways. …