Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What My Wife is Reading - Watchmen and Adventures

This past month my wife and I survived, I mean, enjoyed three family visits, which left little time for reading. However, my wife did finish two of the books on the previous list, Watchmen and The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I took the opportunity to ask her about them:

: Okay, let’s talk about these books.
W: Let’s do it.
M: What did you think of Watchmen?
W: Hmm. It was quite graphic in parts, and there’s a misogynistic tone to Alan Moore’s writing that disturbs me. I liked it, just not as much as I thought I would.
M: Moore’s intent is certainly to change the way the idea of the superhero. Does he succeed?
W: Well, I hated Rorschach. He was a disgusting character, really. I was happy when he died. Dr. Manhattan was an interesting character, though; it seems that he could’ve changed things, but, in the end, chose not to as he could see the outcome and determined that it was best.
M: I suppose in that way Moore does succeed, as the image of Rorschach as superhero never seems right. Comedian, Nite Owl, Ozymandias, Silk Spectre – they succeeded in spite of themselves, but never triumphantly.
W: I don’t think I would’ve read it if the movie wasn’t out.
M: Right. We should see that soon. Okay, now to Michael Chabon.
W: I loved The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. It was epic, exhausting at times, great detail, good length.
M: Yes, you do burn through books quickly. What were the strong points?
W: It’s a great story and the characters of Kavalier and Clay are well-developed and intriguing.
M: Was it engaging?
W: I’m married.
M: [silent embarrassment]
W: There was comedy, intensity, the whole gambit – Chabon is a great storyteller. It is an awesome book.
M: So you would recommend it?
W: Easily.

Now my wife is reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. Not only does this book have the distinction of being on the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die list, it is also on mental_floss’s Top 25 Most Powerful Books of the last 25 years. Written in 1984 and set in 1968 Czechoslavkia, Lightness “made life behind the Iron Curtain seem real to Westerners, even sexy.” Furthermore, it contributed to the falling of the Berlin Wall: “The bureaucratic intimidation, pervasive spying, and grim Communist kitsch are there, but so is an unwavering erotic force that proves stronger than any repressive regime.” I look forward to hearing about it.

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