A would-be Singaporean novelist's blog


The really occasional update

Books I’ve read recently:

1984, Catch-22 and Brave New World.

– Kazuo Ishiguro’s An Artist of the Floating World. I quite like his style and treatment of narrative, so I’ll be reading more of his works soon.

– J. D. Salinger’s A Catcher in the Rye.

It has been a while since I last read some of them, and on doing so, the initial shine seems to fade off some of the works. Brave New World and 1984, for instance, doesn’t seem so much a grand look at society but rather how certain tools of oppression, the former force and the latter pleasure, can operate in a society towards that end. We see a bit of it at work in our typical human habits, but nothing to the scale with which these works describe. Also, the supposedly authentic and slangy teenage American voice in A Catcher in the Rye comes across as more phony and annoying than the people Caulfield is trying to critique. But maybe that’s because I read it after An Artist in the Floating World, which comes across far quieter.

As for writing, I’m finishing up the current draft (the third one so far), which is to probably say I’m halfway through. Taking a break with a short story for the Golden Point Award, tentatively titled “The Fishpond” for now.


Books in the bush

It’s been a busy week, with three days outfield. Spent a day reading Catch-22 in the back of an M113 in a grassy field amidst the distant sputter of gunfire, to the good effect of finishing 400 pages that I never would have gotten past on a less boring and productive day. The ending was worth it, however.

I’ve also been reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. It’s a refreshing experience going back to it after 5+ years of adolescence, and seeing it in greater depth against the grain of one’s society and its norms. In particular, an overbearing abundance of good news and the ever-onward march of progress in the papers. Well, not like I can vote.

Next on the list: 1984

Back from the Outback

And I’m back from the dusty trails of the Australian bush, namely somewhere out there in Rockhampton, Queensland. There’s much to catch up on, from writing to reading to music to various other preparations towards university (not to mention a pesky DNS outage fixed with the help of a friend).

More importantly…

This came in from the Book Depository. I’d been intending to buy it for some time now, seeing all the good press about it, but found only a measly reference copy tucked away somewhere in the National Library. Now that I have it, it’s probably one of the few copies of On Becoming a Novelist that exist in Singapore, given the rather sparse number of said people. From what I’ve read of it so far, it seems to live up to its reputation.

Anyhow, back to writing and music and the good things of this earth.