Posts Tagged ‘boring’

Book #114: The Victim

Saul Bellow’s The Victim was an interesting read.

Bellow is a good writer and I know I’ll look forward to reading some of this other stuff that’s on this list, but The Victim didn’t leave much of an impression on me. Here’s the Goodreads summary of the book:

“Leventhal is a natural victim; a man uncertain of himself, never free from the nagging suspicion that the other guy may be right. So when he meets a down-at-heel stranger in the park one day and finds himself being accused of ruining the man’s life, he half believes it.”

And I don’t really have much to add except …yep. That’s pretty much what happens. Maybe I missed the point of the book or something, but it really was pretty much Leventhal bopping around New York feeling vaguely indignant about stuff that’s happening around (and to) him. He mostly just accepts it and, at times, he starts to feel a little bit upset and makes moves to stand up for himself, but overall he’s generally all too willing to accept the blame others heap on him for things that aren’t his fault.

It feels like The Victim could easily turn into a parody, but at the same time, it just reads like an exploration in apathy.

I really wish I had more to say about this book, but I really don’t. Leventhal would probably be a little upset that I didn’t think the story of his life was more interesting. But then again, he’d realize that he only has himself to blame. He should have done more exciting things!

Rating: ***
Up Next: The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Diary of (Another) Nobody

Enthusiasm makes you do things really quickly. So I’m already finished with my first book! Don’t worry, I promise I won’t be this on top of things for long.

I wonder what it would be like if I meticulously catalogued everything that happens to me each day, no matter how dull it is. That’s what Charles Pooter does in The Diary of a Nobody. Pooter is a completely average, almost boring man. He truly is a Nobody. 

He makes bad jokes, is overly concerned about the irritating grocer’s boy, his strange son Lupin, and his social contacts. And we get to hear all about his life, day by day. Pooter’s wife, Carrie, and Lupin tell him that his diary is unimportant and advise him to stop writing it. Although Pooter himself realizes that there is no point in his keeping his diary or publishing it (as he plans to do), he continues writing.

Charles Pooter is incredibly average. At certain parties he drinks too much champagne and wakes up with hangovers the next day. He does not understand Lupin’s slang and cannot relate to him at all. His servants trouble him, at times his wife annoys him, and he gets no greater pleasure in life than from making puns. Really bad puns.

Really bad puns.

It’s probably too early in this blogging thing to be doing weird reviews, but I’m going to anyway. Who says this has to be like other book blogs?

July 20

Saw family off to Spain. Mother was running around in a panic while Dad tried to hurry everyone along. Mother needed to write down watering and dog feeding instructions for me. Didn’t have time. Barked at me as they left. They were so long in leaving that I was a half hour late for work. Nobody noticed.

I got bored at work very quickly. As I do not have set hours, I worked until 1:30 and came home. Heidi visited last night. We went to Smokey Row and had a fine dinner. We spent the rest of the night drinking beer and playing Bananagrams.

 

July 21

The dog woke me up barking at 7:10. Gave her medicine and watered the plants. The pink flowered plant Alex gave Mom for her birthday seems dead. Went to the bakery with Heidi. Played Bananagrams until she had to leave.

Jessie and Kristin arrived at 8:30. We put on dresses and went to the liquor store and bar. Came home, watched a crappy horror movie and drank rum and cokes. Switched to watching How I Met Your Mother. Went to bed late.

 

July 22

Woke up for interview with The Language House in Prague. Made coffee, took medicine for headache. Interview went well and all I had to do was send them my resume. Jessie and Kristin woke up and we went to the Asian Buffet for lunch.

 I can never remember which chicken I don’t like – the crispy chicken or the honey chicken. Today was no different. I took only the crispy chicken. I still couldn’t remember if it was the kind I like or not.

Spent the afternoon reading. I got very far in 1Q84 and started a new book. Around 7:00 I went online and ordered food from Pizza Hut. By 8:45 it still wasn’t there, and no one was answering the phone. I can only assume that my order had not gone through. I made soup and ate it.

I like being home alone, but it got lonely as night went on. I’m often home by myself in the evenings, but knowing that no one would be coming home and that I wouldn’t be seeing anybody until work made it lonely. I tried to watch a horror movie, but then I heard a noise and the dogs started barking. I was too scared to continue. I read until I fell asleep.

 

July 23

I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. The alarm on my phone is very annoying though. I should change it. It is very obnoxious. I got to work late again today. Now that no one else is home I have to make the coffee, water the plants, and take care of the dogs before I can get ready for work. I remembered this but still did not allow myself enough time. I got to work seven minutes late. No one cared, though.

At lunch I quickly ate at home. I paid my deposit securing my place in the TEFL course I’ll be taking in October. Then I went to the library. I lost my library card and had to pay five dollars. After a 30 day waiting period, they told me, I could pick up my new library card. Those thirty days were up yesterday. The library is closed on Sundays, so I went today. They told me that the waiting period had expired, so I would have to pay another five dollars and wait another thirty days. I left in disgust.

Then I went to the bookstore. I wanted to buy The Crying of Lot 49, because the Random Number Gods want me to read that book next. They didn’t have it, because this is a small town and the bookstore is run by middle-aged housewives and the book selection shows that. I’ll have to order the book on Amazon.

After work I ordered two cheeseburgers from McDonald’s and ate them while I watched a German film. There were no visitors. I expect I will not have any more social engagement this week, as Kristin and Jessie are both out of town.

I briefly considered going to the pub by myself. But going to the pub alone on a Monday evening didn’t seem socially acceptable. I read more 1Q84. Having finished The Diary of a Nobody, I wished that I had been able to buy The Crying of Lot 49.

I stared at the ceiling for awhile. I tried to get my dog to play fetch with me, but she wasn’t interested. Then, I wrote this review/journal “response” to The Diary of a Nobody.

It seems that I, too, am a Nobody. But that’s okay. Because aren’t we all, in a way?

Rating: ***

Up Next: The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

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