Monday, February 13, 2012
While my interest in photography with old cameras has taken up much of my time over the past ten years, I haven't been able to resist looking into other subjects, a few of which are illustrated here.
My longest-running hobby is actually reading novels, mostly by Spanish and Latin American writers. I never had patience for English and American literature, and always felt fiction something of a waste of time. Reading in Spanish always seemed less self-indulgent as I could tell myself I was also building some language proficiency.
I'm not quite half-way through 2666 by Roberto Bolaño. The endless digressions and philosophizing get a bit tiresome, but he was an accomplished storyteller, and I'm working at withholding judgment on the book until I'm done with it. The story has a lot in common with the trilogy by Stieg Larsson, though the swede's style was more nimble.
Another writer with a lot in common with those two is Mario Vargas Llosa. I've read most of his novels, including most recently La tía Julia y el escribidor and La guerra del fin del mundo. Vargas Llosa is often slow in starting his stories; I was about eighty pages into La guerra before I felt I knew where the plot was headed. The peruano's strength is in developing interesting characters, something that has been helped along considerably by his having lived with a succession of interesting women.
In the past few years I've been reading more non-English-speaking writers in Spanish translation. I enjoyed the exotic stories told by Orhan Pamuk, and reading him in Spanish seems appropriate as Turkish and Spanish have some grammatical similarity in their use of a familiar tense.
Bolaño's novel is probably going to last me a couple more weeks at the rate I'm going. After that, I'm hoping to read a bit of Tolstoy, possibly Anna Karenina. I started to read it on line, but digesting a novel with my desktop is tiresome. If anyone out there has a dog-eared copy of the Spanish edition, I would be happy to pay a reasonable price for it.