• Current Reads

      Life after Life Jill McCorkle
      This Is Your Captain Speaking Jon Methven
      The Starboard Sea Amber Dermont
      Snark David Denby
      Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel
  • Popular Tags

  • Recent Reflections

  • Categories

  • Moleskine’s All-Time Favorites

  • Echoes

    The HKIA brings Hong… on [788] Island and Peninsula 島與半…
    Adamos on The Master and Margarita:…
    sumithra MAE on D.H. Lawrence’s Why the…
    To Kill a Mockingbir… on [35] To Kill A Mockingbird…
    Deanna Friel on [841] The Price of Salt (Carol…
    Minnie on [367] The Rouge of the North 怨…
  • Reminiscences

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,064,302 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,713 other followers

Oddest Book Ever Read

btt  button

What’s the oddest book you’ve ever read? Did you like it? Hate it? Did it make you think?

In If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler Calvino shows that the novel, far from being a dead form, is capable of endless mutations. I had no idea what the book was really about until I was on the third chapter and it dawned on me that every new chapter marks the beginning of another novel. The book is a rarity in fiction reading and writing in which the book boldly denounces the inveterate relationship between authorship and authority, proclaiming a revolution in which readers are to be liberated from the “tyranny of the author’s single canonical meaning” and free to make their own interpretation. Italo Calvino further explores this argument about reading a “different book” other than the one currently being read. Reader, in other words, might be reading another book besides the one before his eyes-a book that yet does to exist, but since the reader wants it, cannot fail to exist. Reading becomes some abstract idea through which reader measures himself against something else that is not present, something that belongs to the immaterial, invisible dimension, because it can only be thought, concocted, and imagined or it was once and is no longer attainable. Reading this book feels like descending an endless spiral staircase.

8 Responses

  1. I like the spiral staircase picture. This has been a really interesting question to look at this, week as it’s sort fo a positive way for my blogger list to highlight off the grid books that they usually don’t talk about in mainstream bookish conversation.

    • The other author whose works remind me of this is Borges. Not sure if they are experimental fiction but they are nothing like what I have read before.

  2. This is such a great novel. It’s probably my favorite experimental novel- which, admittedly, is a low bar to pass since I’m not a huge fan of experimentation. But I always thought Calvino made something truly original, and not as a stunt like some experimental writers seem to do.

    • I need to re-read this book because it’s been over 5 years since I last did. If there is one book (other than The Master and Margarita) that will impart on me new meaning every time I re-read, this will be it. Calvino is quite out there but he is not so outlandish that the works aren’t readable.

  3. Can’t remember any odd book I’ve read. Not yet, but yours sound so unique.

  4. Oddest book I’ve ever read is my own first novel, ‘A Land Beyond Enclosure’. It doesn’t really have a plot to speak of and I’d gone, at the age of 23, for a sort of ‘poetry in prose’ effect with the narrative style. I’ve been reading it and ‘polishing’ it up to put it free on Smashwords. I can’t imagine what frame of mind I was in when I wrote it, but trying to make it look like a novel hasn’t been easy; still an ongoing project by the way. Anyway it’s an odd book that’s for sure and that was probably why I didn’t get a publisher back in 1989!

    • Ricky, I didn’t know you’re published author. Thanks for sharing about the novel, which now I have to find and read. I love experimental forms and appreciate authors who try new style of writing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: