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