There hasn’t been a post on books for a while. Problem is, I haven’t read anything in a while that elicits the response of “must review need to blog” for a while. I still blame George RR Martin for that, spoiling me as a reader to the point where most fiction which I used to greatly enjoy now seems rather mundane.
Speaking of mundane, because I have nothing to report in this section of the blog, I thought instead of articulating what to read, I’ll rather specify what not to read. That is, I find, usually of equal importance when deciding what to read. So, you ask, what should you avoid when making the decision?
- Anything by Dean Koontz. It’s too frightening and takes twisted to another level. Unless that’s your brand of vodka, stay well away from Koontz.
- 90% of the “Funny Pages” in the newspaper. There isn’t a more ironic title in the world.
- One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
I’ll spend the rest of this post bashing the latter, which remains to this day the most boring book I have ever had the misfortune or reading. Seriously, never, ever, under any circumstances, read the book. If you need to do so for class, Sparknotes is your best friend. God, they don’t come more boring than this one.
And yes, in case you are wondering, this is considered one of the best classics of the twentieth century. That being said, the Bible is the best selling book of all time, and you’re not planning on reading that any time soon, are you? The book is famous because it exposes what life was like in a Stalinist gulag. I know that it’s supposed to be boring and repetitive – it does exceedingly well in that. Whatever you might want to learn from it is easily accessible on the internet, so don’t read the book. Save yourself.
Don’t overthink the title. The book is literally one day in the life of Ivan Denisovich, from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to sleep. That’s it. And yes, while it is a shocking rendition of what life in a gulag was like, that doesn’t make it any more interesting. When there is literally an entire chapter of the protagonist, Shukhov, laying bricks on top of each other, it’s hard to stay awake. Maybe that’s what Stalin was going for in his work camps, torturing his subjects to the point of insanity by inflicting them with the worst kind of treatment: boredom. If it isn’t, well, Solzhenitsyn takes care of it for him.
I don’t want to delve further into it. There is some interesting symbolism, but the interesting part of the book stops there. I implore you, do NOT read this book. Ever.
If you read all of this, you must be just as desperately bored as I am.