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Sarah's Library

I read pretty much anything, from fantasy (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett) to romance (Bared to You by Sylvia Day) to classics (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad).  The only genres I don't read are self-help and comic books/graphic novels.

Currently reading

The Last Honeytrap
Louise Lee
Progress: 100/346 pages
Complete Works of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

If on a Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino

If on a Winter's Night a Traveller - Italo Calvino

23/8 - The blurb on GR makes me think the book is going to be a cross between Robin Sloan's Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore and a book from Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series - books within books, characters aware that they are being read, and a detective story all at the same time. Sounds crazy weird and like a book that a reader's either going to get and love or not and hate. I hope I love it. Here goes... To be continued...


2 mins, 5.5 lines later - LOL! Laughing (in a good way) within six lines must be a record. Here's the passage that set me off

You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a Winter's Night a Traveller. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. Best to close the door; the TV is always on in the next room. Tell the others right away, "No, I don't want to watch TV!" Raise your voice - they won't hear you otherwise - "I'm reading! I don't want to be disturbed!" Maybe they haven't heard you, with all that racket; speak louder, yell: "I'm beginning to read Italo Calvino's new novel!" Or if you prefer, don't say anything; just hope they'll leave you alone.

It's uncanny how true to my life this is. With the exact same dialogue. It's almost like this particular edition of the book was written just for me. In fact my dad's watching footy in the other room (I'm in bed with the book and my laptop, but I can clearly the hear the commentary from here) and just a few minutes ago he tried to pester me into staying up and watching it with him. He called out to ask if I wanted to watch the footy and I yelled back no. Then he asked why I didn't want to watch the footy and I replied because I'm reading a new book that I've wanted to read for ages (I didn't mention Calvino's name as he wouldn't have a clue who he is/was). Then he tried to lure me with the fact that it's the family team playing (they've been losing for the last few weeks, maybe months now, so it wasn't much temptation), but to forestall any further conversations held at the top of our voices from one room to another, I ignored this last ditch attempt and wrote the first instalment of my review. He gave up after that. Best opening lines EVER !!


Later on page 34, after the chapter about the train station - Thank goodness for that opening chapter where Calvino told me to get rid of all distractions and find a comfy reading position. If I hadn't read that, and found it completely hilarious, I don't know whether I would have continued reading that whole train station section - that was weird. I can't tell you exactly what it was about, just that it was about a train station, or train stations in general. If you've already read If on a Winter's Night a Traveller then you'll know what I mean, and if you haven't I can't explain it to you, you'll just have to read it for yourself in order to understand. Despite the train station weirdness, which was a shock after the hilarity of the first chapter, I'm looking forward to continuing with the Polish book :0. To be continued...


27/8 - I'm enjoying the parts of the book where The Reader and Ludmilla are searching for the rest of the books that they've mistakenly begun reading thinking they were the continuing story from If on a Winter's Night a Traveller, but the 'books' themselves are just plain weird. If I started reading any of the books that have been featured so far I would DNF it and find something a bit more linear and less...I think existential is the word I'm looking for. To be continued...


31/8 - Of all the 'books' found within If on a Winter's Night a Traveller the only one I would, could possibly choose to read because it interested me was Looks Down in the Gathering Shadow. I actually found myself disappointed when it ended because I wanted to know how/if Ruedi and Bernadette managed to talk their way out of the mess with Jojo's shoe. I've also noticed, and wondered at the hidden meaning, that each 'book's' title sounds like part of a longer sentence, even the real title of the book follows, possibly starts, that trend - If on a Winter's Night a Traveller... A Traveller what? Comes by? Dies? Does the Macarena in the dining room? It's the start of a sentence that it's annoying not to have the ending for, plus everyone looks at me like I'm crazy when I tell them the title of the book I'm reading. To be continued...


3/9 - I'm seven pages into Chapter 8 and I'm getting a bit bored and feel like I could probably skip the rest of it without having any negative impact on the rest of the book.  Calvino is waffling on and on about two writers and a reader and I don't know what the hell else (and I've got too many more pages to go in the chapter to simply struggle on), but between the lines I keep seeing DNF.  I don't want to DNF because I want to see what happens to our hero and heroine and their quest to find the rest of the If on a Winter's Night a Traveller, so I'm going to SKIP the rest of this chapter and hopefully get back to the much more interesting adventures of The Reader and Ludmilla.  To be continued...


10/9 - This started out with a bang on my funny bone, which got it an initial four star rating, but once we got past that opening chapter the book just became too deep, too set on some kind of metaphysical message (or something, I really didn't understand what was going on for most of the book). You know me, I often hate (because the book becomes more about the message and less about the story) and generally tend to misunderstand 'messages' and that's what happened with If on a Winter's Night a Traveller. I'm glad I read it, because now I know what the book's about, but it wasn't a particularly pleasurable read and considering the fact that it's only 260 pages it shouldn't have taken me 17 days to read, with a chapter and a number of pages skipped.