Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I read ink

I've been reading Solzhenitsyn's The First Circle since I found it last week in a used book store in London. Shockingly, its fucking depressing. Like Sylvia-Plath-writing-about-terminally-ill-children-in-the-Sudan-depressing. Its a 400+ page novel that describes the minutiae of three days worth of living in a part of the Russian gulag designated for professionals and academics. While they aren't made to do hard labour like the other prisoners, they're still captives of Stalin's Soviet government. The title references Dante's first circle of Hell and the limbo-like state these guys live in. I'm at the part where its looking as though they are about to sacrifice themselves to the hard labour camps in Siberia in order to make some sort of moral point. I'm missing Nabokov, he never moralizes.

Anyway, it was all getting to be a bit heavy and doing absolutely nothing for my mood, so I switched. I'm now re-reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I find it hilarious. It makes me laugh out loud, which books rarely do. But I've read it already, and everything I bought last weekend is in the same depressing vein as The First Circle, with the exception of the Anais Nin, but I don't think I can deal with her right now... so basically this was a long-winded plea for summer reading recommendations/book loans. I can deal with "dark" or even "bleak", just not "hopeless" or also anything with the word "Shopaholic" in the title. Go.

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