1997 Reading

Here are the books I finished reading in 1997.
Arc d'X by Steve Erickson
I learned of this book when I stumbled upon Keith Martin's excellent reviews of books he's read--very similar in concept to these pages and started at almost exactly the same time but far better executed. This book turns out to owe a lot to Robbe-Grillet, but is still a fairly conventional novel, and I don't particularly like Erickson's style. There are some nice passages, though. About halfway through it got very boring and I stopped reading. (10/4/97)
Mulligan Stew by Gilbert Sorrentino
For the second time, but I just read the non-awful parts this time. There were less of them than I remembered, probably less than half the overall length. And the book wasn't as fun the second time. So I've removed this from my favorites list. (10/4/97)
Everest The Hard Way by Chris Bonington
A book to tide me over until I can read Into Thin Air, and I thought it would be interesting to contrast this serious expedition with the commercial ones described in Into Thin Air. (8/26/97)
I didn't quite make it to the end before returning it to the library, but I'll finish it up some day. (10/4/97)
Alain Robbe-Grillet's In the Labyrinth
I've read this only once, a long time ago, and didn't think much of it, but I thought I'd give it another chance. Still rather tough to read. (8/27/96)
This will probably be the last time I read this book. Although its easy to see this book's importance as the link between R-G's earlier and later (best) work, the problem is that--aside from the beginning and ending, which are excellent--this novel is just incredibly dull. (9/8/97)
Eiger Dreams by Jon Krakauer
I recently heard about Krakauer's other books Into Thin Air and Into The Wild which seemed very interesting, but they had so many holds at the library that I wouldn't be able to check them out for six months. Fortunately a friend said he'd lend me his copies, but I checked this out to tide me over. This is just a collection of essays and seems far less interesting than the other two books, but is still fun to read. (8/26/97)
Finished a week or so ago, along with Krakauer's other two books. (9/8/97)
Into Thin Air and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Both very enjoyable to read, Into Thin Air being signficantly better than his other two books. My main complaint is that he is so stingy with photographs, although the few that are included are quite good. (9/8/97)
I reread Into Thin Air a couple weeks ago. Great the second time as well. (10/4/97)
Bike Cult by David B. Perry
A compedium of all sorts of interesting info on bicycles. I just read the parts that were most interesting at the time. (9/8/97)
In High Gear by Samuel Abt
Miscellanious essays about bicycle racing. Not nearly as interesting as Tour de France, but still pretty good. (8/26/97)
I didn't finish as I got a little tired about reading about bicycling and just returned it to the library, but I'll check it out again sometime. (9/8/97)
Tour de France: Three Weeks to Glory by Samuel Abt
Very interesting book about the 1990 Tour de France with some background and history of the race. (8/26/97)
Richard's Ultimate Book of Bicycling by Richard Ballantine and Richard Grant
Found this in the discount section of Borders for $8. A little old (1992) but a beautiful picture book on bicycling with actually quite a lot of valuable information. (8/26/97)
Sloane's Complete Book of Bicycling by Eugene A. Sloane
Excellent overall guide to bicycling. (8/26/97)
Le nouveau guide de France
A wonderful overview of French history, culture, and so forth. Stanford is using this for a class and selling it for $27. I found and bought it at the Strand in NYC for $5. (10/4/95)
I haven't come close to reading all of this, but I looked at it again and decided not to read it all the way through, but just read sections for reference as needed. (8/11/97)
Marie Redonnet's Nevermore
In French this time, after reading it twice in English. (7/30/97)
Although I disliked this book the first time I read it and only liked it a little better the second time, this time I loved it! It has become one of my favorites. (8/11/97)
Marie Redonnet's Candy Story
In French this time, after reading it twice in English. (3/14/97)
Finished last week. (7/30/97)
Piano Lessons by Noah Adams
About the author purchasing a Steinway piano and then trying to learn to play it. Mostly he avoids learning to play it, unfortunately, so this isn't as much about pianos as I would like. Near the end he goes to a piano camp and finally gets enthusiastic to play, and this is the best part of the book. Mentions brand names and prices, which I like. Also nice that at the end he decides to use Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course, which I also found was excellent.
Finished a few weeks ago. (7/21/97)
The Science of Musical Sound (Revised Edition) by John R. Pierce
I read this book a little over two years ago (see the 1995 listing), but I think it was the original edition and I don't remember it well, so why not read it again? (6/19/97)
I just re-read the early parts of this book, about scales, consonance, and so forth, which are extremely interesting. (7/21/97)
How to Break 90 Consistently by Frank Chinnock
I re-read this book, along with some other golf books, a month or so ago. This one wasn't as interesting the third time for some reason. (6/19/97)
Akatsuka Fujio's Nyarome no omoshiro maajan nyuumon
I've been learning mah jong on and off since around 1990, learning only in Japanese which has kept progress slow. I bought this book several years ago but only recently read it all the way through. It uses Akatsuka's Bakabon gag comic to teach the game, so this is a fun way to learn. It has some problems--explanations aren't always clear, terms are used without being defined, and so forth, but overall it's quite well done and enjoyable to read. Having read this, combined with playing video game versions for a while, I think I've finally mostly figured out the rules. (4/6/97)
Kathy Acker's Kathy Goes To Haiti
For the second time. (3/22/97)
Finished a while ago. A wonderful novel--I'd forgotten how excellent it is. Her desriptive passages are dull but the dialog is superb. (4/6/97)
Marie Redonnet's Rose Mélie Rose
In French this time, after reading it twice in English. (12/24/96)
Finished a couple weeks ago. (3/14/97)
Jean-Philippe Toussaint's L'appareil-photo
I bought this sight-unseen since Robbe-Grillet had mentioned it was one of his favorites in Les derniers jours de Corinthe, despite the fact than I wasn't particularly fond of any of the other books he mentioned. I figured at least one had to be really great, and from what little I've read so far, this is the one. (10/8/96)
I started reading again from the beginning and finished this book a few weeks ago. There's still a lot I don't understand--I got the feeling that this was a really great book but couldn't be sure. I'll have to try again more seriously. (2/26/97)
Glenn Gould: A Life and Variations by Otto Friedrich
I've gotten interested in Bach lately and in particular in Glenn Gould's versions of Bach, which are by far the best in my opinion. Gould himself is quite interesting as well, so along with seeing some films and so forth on him, I'm reading this biography, which is quite enjoyable and well-written. My only complaint is that Friedrich introduces his own opinions (for example criticizing critics of Gould) with annoying frequency. (1/22/97)
Finished around 1/24. (2/3/97)

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