For being a literature and English language student, as well as a book-worm, I find that I write seriously little about the books I devour on a regular basis. I was browsing through the posts on the blog to see if I had written about my current book, but hardly found any posts about books at all. Writing, yes. Whining, even more so. Over-thinking, oh my god. But hardly any about books.
So here’s a post about three books that I’m reading right now, and what I think so far.
The books about Dune is a complex set of allegories that aren’t the most accessible, and this is perhaps why this series is one of the absolute classics of the genre. This complex, complex book is not written as an opaque and abstract thing. Oh no, it is a fairly easy read if your English reading skills are above the level of thirteen-year-olds, but the ideas expressed in it aren’t that obvious.
I keep coming back to Dune, as an inspiration for what I would like to have written, and because there’s always something new to discover. I have a quote, which is very personal to me, from the books hanging on my cork-board here at home.
It’s the litany of fear, and it’s always something that I keep; as a rule or as a reminder, or as both.
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing……Only I will remain.
I bought this book because my copy of the first book in the series is very frayed, and with this trilogy I can now free up some space in the book shelf. I should get a new book shelf soon, because I keep buying books, even though I promise myself I won’t.
I tend to stay away from gay themed books. It may be a bit of a prejudice that I have, but I’ll spell out my reluctance to read them. Books about gay people mostly seem to be ‘issue books’. The issue is the gayness. So it is never about two gay people; it is about two people being gay. There is a big difference between the two. Most of the books of this type that cross my path seem to be more like “Brokeback Mountain” than they are like “Sleepless in Seattle”.
In books about people who are gay, it’s a human story about two people who just happen to love people of the same-sex. In the books about people being gay, most of the time, the ‘being gay’ part is bad. Either it’s bad because being gay is bad, or it is bad because ‘the world is against the gays’. This book suffers horrendously from that. Or it’s about gay sex. I have even less patience with so-called M/M romance. I don’t begrudge people reading it, but I realise that it’s a kind of titillating wish fulfilment where the target audience is straight women – not gay men or lesbians. This book also has plenty of gay sex.
It is supposed to be some kind of classic, at least that is what the blurbs tell you, but I really struggle through the stilted language, and the tragic things the people in the book go through. And I wish, sometime, for a book where the ‘being gay’ is not the subject of LGBT literature, but where homosexuality is treated as casually and unreferenced as heterosexual relationships. On TV Tropes there’s a category called ‘Bury your gays”. I think that books like this not only fulfil the trope, but they fulfil the cliché that the trope has become.
The word Palestine tends to bring out images of Israeli troops battling hardened and stone-throwing youth. It’s about Hamas and Hezbollah and jets in the sky firing missiles against batteries that hurl rockets into Israel. In the polarised reporting about the conflict, it’s easy to get lost and take sides, and paint one side in black and the other in white.
This is the story of an ordinary kid who live in the middle of that conflict, and in the middle of all the suspicions and loud voices that demand allegiance to this and that. It’s also about hardening attitudes on both sides.
The boy Ichmad Hamid becomes the victim of the bureaucracy of this conflict when his father is imprisoned, and his home is confiscated. Two of his sisters are killed. He is left penniless and homeless in this psychodrama that plague the world for the fifth decade.
It is easy to forget that most people in the conflict are ordinary people who struggle to go on in difficult circumstances, and this book beautifully reinforce this.