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Books and ting – Montana to Buenos Aires


Well hes clearly a full on dude.

Well he's clearly a full on dude.

I take a horribly long time to read a book, and presumably now I’m cycling it’ll be even longer. Meanwhile, my pile of to-reads grows ever more unmanageable… Nevertheless, I occasionally do finish a book, and I’ve justed finished Jonathan Raban’s Bad Land, a travelogue/history of the Montana homesteaders 100 years ago. It’s deeply fascinating – the landscapes conjured are really otherworldly and strange, the people spoken of become good friends, the places are as familiar as the next stop on the tube.  That’s excellent writing.


I can’t see that I’ll ever have cause to go to Montana, or indeed any of the plains states. There’s nothing really there to warrant it, but then I suppose, that’s the point. It’s no use trying to imagine it here, surrounded by blocks of offices, or rolling hills… There, sixty foot is a mountain, a rock in the road a landmark. I can’t get my head around it, really. I particularly enjoyed the journey west at the end, from Ismay and Mildred in Eastern Montana, through Western Montana, Washington State, and on to Seattle. It takes in Ted Kaczynski, Randy Weaver and others, as well as the ordinary folk, the Wollastons and the Zehms and the Worsell’s that survived back then. 

Quite a change of tack now though: I’m on to Jorge Luis BorgesLabyrinths – I’ve been looking for some Borges in charity shops for a while, and finally tracked this paperback down in Twickenham. It’s different, to say the least: metaphysics, history, myth and linguistics have all played substantial roles, and I’m really only a few pages into the first short story in the collection. You can quite clearly see the influence on Umberto Eco, and maybe on the magic-realist likes of Garcia Marquez as well, although I’ve not read sufficiently yet – these are just first impressions. I shall update later.


One Response

  1. Borges is a fascinating read. I have the collected works of fiction by Borges. If you are enjoying that style of narrative, I would suggest you pick up some Thomas Pynchon. He will blow your mind away, cheers.

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