Tag: memory

Best Books of 2017

Posted December 15, 2017 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in What are you Reading / 4 Comments

As 2017 finally comes to an end, all I can think is ‘Thank God’. While this has not been a bad reading read (over a hundred books), I did not achieve some of my goals. Most importantly I was stuck in a real creative slump for most of the year and I had trouble climbing out. I decided to take a step back from BookTube because I did not feel like it was the right medium for me. I was hoping to focus more on blogging and writing essays but that never happened either.

My goals for 20017 included writing an essay a month and I failed miserably, but now I havae co-founded a literary journal so I have to make sure in 2018 I write more. For my reading goals, I planned to read 50% books in translation which I was able to achieve and I hope to continue with this in future years. I also had a list of about ten books I wanted to read in 2017 and ended up reading only three of them. I guess planning my reading is not for me and with that in mind, I decided to have no reading goals for 2018. I just want to read what I want, when I want. I want to be carefree and enjoy my reading journey. I hope this will help me get back into my creative groove and blog or write more frequently.

Having said that, 2017 was a pretty decent reading year for me and I thought I should cover off some of my favourite books. I probably should make sure I review all these books at some point but here is my list. First, I want to give an honourable mentions to The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark, Night Prayers by Santiago Gamboa (translated by Howard Curtis), The North Water by Ian McGuire, Belladonna by Daša Drndić (translated by Celia Hawkesworth) and The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño (translated by Natasha Wimmer).

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10:04 by Ben Lerner

Posted August 5, 2015 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

10:04 by Ben LernerTitle: 10:04 (Goodreads)
Author: Ben Lerner
Published: Granta, 2014
Pages: 241
Genres: Literary Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

10:04 tells of a time with increasingly frequent super storms; the novel is bookended with Hurricanes Irene and Sandy (although they are never referred to by name). Our unnamed narrator has also been diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, which is almost always fatal. Faced with the state of the world and his own mortality, this narrator must question his legacy. Not just biologically but as a writer he must consider what he will leave behind.

A Brooklyn based writer, this narrator starts off early within the novel talking about just what kind of life he has. In one particular passage he describes visiting the Metropolitan Museum, a frequent occurrence, with a friend. “We often visited weekday afternoons, since Alex was unemployed, and I, a writer.” The two like to look at all the melodrama found in the 19th century, in particular his favourite; a painting of Joan of Arc. This passage not only sets up an introduction to our narrator and his female friend Alex but also an indication of what type of novel to expect here.

Ben Lerner has an uncanny ability to write a unique novel that is both beautiful and moving but at the same time remaining hilarious and intelligent. I will admit that the novel did make me feel stupid so many times but I love a book that makes me work to fully grasp it. I always get a real sense of accomplishment when I finish a book like 10:04. For those that are hesitant about reading a book that might make them feel dumb, I think 10:04 is worth the effort and the challenge.

This novel explores a lot of interesting themes from friendship, sex, memory, legacy, art and politics; think of this as a book that explores the landscape of the contemporary life. The narrator is a bit pretentious but then again the circles he hangs out in are full of pseudo-intellectuals. The New York literary scene has been done time and time again, however I am a huge fan of this setting and I think there are so many opportunities to explore interesting ideas. 10:04 did exactly that.

It seems like Ben Lerner is going to be one of those authors that the literary world will need to watch. His first novel Leaving the Atocha Station was met with critical acclaim, showing up on all the major literary magazines’ best books of the year list. A novel I have yet to read but if it is anything like 10:04, I know I will love it. Ben Lerner manages to capture so many emotions in one single narrative, 10:04 is just a great book and I expect to see many more great novels from Ben Lerner in the future.