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About Seiichi

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  1. Taken on its own, I found Ring to be quite good. I didn't enjoy the second book, Spiral. I seem to have a different opinion from other people about which half of Spiral was better, but after finishing it, I didn't feel inclined to read Loop, the final book in the series.
  2. A quitter? No. Maybe a glutton for punishment for using the Amazon forums and reading certain books against your better judgment (I thought you said you wouldn't touch Twilight with a barge pole, or maybe you're just too curious to ignore any book completely).
  3. I'm slowly making my way through the books --- I'm reading the original Moncrieff translation that's available online. As far as I can tell, Moncrieff is a little too literal in places and perhaps doesn't do justice to the original French when capturing the mood and language. I'm reminded of something my Latin teacher once said: literal translations are good for GCSE, but a good translator will also try to capture the beauty of the language. As far as I know, the new Penguin translations are a little looser and attempt to reflect the change in the writer's voice. Whichever you prefer comes down to how you like your translations, although I've heard Lydia Davis' translation of Volume 1 is excellent and is preferable to Moncrieff's. As a companion book, I'd recommend reading How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain De Botton. Also, if you can get hold of a copy of Cultural Amnesia, Clive James wrote a lovely entry on Proust.
  4. The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, Leonard Mlodinow
  5. There's a slightly older thread about this book here.
  6. I've been thinking the same thing, but I suspect the same editors would probably still make the prologue Chapter 1, use the date as a subheading, and continue with the scheme for subsequent chapters.
  7. I felt there was a little bit of Heart of Darkness in Edgar's journey to Burma, and the author captures the jungle atmosphere pretty well. Three or four years after reading this, I can still remember Edgar's final image vividly.
  8. I agree with your sentiments. Under normal circumstances, I'd be appalled if people were told they should read Stephanie Meyer or Dan Brown, but there aren't any rules set down here. I'd struggle in good conscience to list five books/series that people should read. I can only think of two books: 1. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust and, despite the errors, the Katherine Woods translation of 2. The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery.
  9. There are a few, but I don't think they make good books for discussion.
  10. It is the year 1665. Ever since the declaration of 1666 as the Year of the Beast, the religious have been in a state of anxiety, for the end of the world approaches. It is said that their only hope of salvation lies within an obscure book known as The Hundredth Name. The Koran speaks of ninety-nine names of God, but it is believed that The Hundredth Name contains an additional name which, when uttered, allows the invoker to call upon His protection. When asked about the book, curio merchant Balthasar Embriaco attempts to persuade his customers that in all likelihood it does not exist. Everything changes when he is unexpectedly given the book. He finds himself selling it even before he has had the chance to glimpse its contents or ascertain its authenticity. Persuaded by his elder nephew Boumeh, he leaves for Constantinople in the hope of retrieving the book. Events conspire against him and he finds himself travelling his journey further afield. In an age of religious and political anxiety he meets all sorts, from religious fanatics and madmen to those who retain their own sense of rationalism. Among the believers in the coming apocalypse is Boumeh, who is single-minded in his pursuit of the book. Although a non-religious Christian and a healthy skeptic, Balthasar is weak-willed: logic is overridden by anxiety, and he finds his skepticism gently eroded by the murmurings of doomsayers. Against his own advice, and feeling the anxieties spread by the religious maniacs, he finds himself looking for signs that are not there. It's a shame that Balthasar is reduced to using mysticism to explain events, disregarding the sage words of the people he meets on his journey. On his journey he falls in love with people and places. It is as if the journey has allowed him to live for the first time, experiencing never-felt passions and succumbing to the brash decisions of youth. His journey concludes in guilt and regret about what has happened and what could have been. Little is resolved satisfactorily and the people important to Balthasar disappear. In the end, despite everything he has been through, Balthasar remains unchanged as a person, as if he had been a passive observer all along---a prodigal son making his way back home in a confused world.
  11. He dreams of skulls. Seventy-eight of them --- factors 1, 2, 3, 13 and 78. Natural Flights of the Human Mind, Clare Morrall
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