Recently, I have been binge reading in an effort to run away from my problems, so I decided to take the time to review some of the literature I have read in my endeavours.
I decided to make myself criteria, and I’ll use it like teachers do, either far too liberally or far too much. Here we go:
Plot: Is it engaging? Does it include a sexually promiscuous person?
Writing Style: Is it written well? Does it use big words?
Popularity: Do I like it because I’m bandwagoning?
Foreign: Do I like it because it’s ‘cultured’?
Appropriate: Is it appropriate?
Residue: Does it leave a lasting effect? Do I still remember what it’s about?
A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
six out of six gold fishes
Plot: Yes. There is plot. It follows the generations of the family Buendía through the history of the mythical city Macondo. It intertwines magical realism with the storytelling one would hear from one’s grandmother. Yes there is a sexually promiscuous person, and she has a couple children with different people in the family.
The cyclical nature of the characters is very intelligently crafted, and the culture and mood of the lonely city comes across very effectively.
Writing Style: Yes, it’s written well. It reads like the Bible, straightforward and unquestioning. Are there big words? Not really.
Popularity: Yes it is very popular, but I don’t like it because it’s popular. The book is almost 500 pages long; I wouldn’t read it totally if I didn’t like it.
Foreign: Yes it’s foreign. Do I feel more cultured after reading it? A little to be honest, although it’s never going to come in handy in real life.
Appropriate: Pretty appropriate except for the incest and child brides, and that goes over pretty well because it’s tradition and foreign. (When you read stuff like this you really need to drop our modern attitudes)
Residue: Yes, I enjoyed it enough to read it again. Do I remember the plotline? Not really, it went on for 500 pages.
Any problems: The book uses approximately two names the entire book. Through three generations. One guy has seventeen sons and they’re all called Aureliano. Get a family tree if you decide to tackle this book.
The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa
four and a half pseudonyms out of six
Plot: Yes, there is plot, but the same thing happens again and again. The protagonist is very obsessed with this girl his entire life, and it follows their relationship as she keeps showing up as different people, with different names and different men, in his life. It’s very Madame Bovary-esque, except I actually made it through this book, unlike Madame Bovary. Yes, there is definitely a sexually promiscuous character. The book revolves around a sexually promiscuous character.
If you’re interested in the politics and corruption of Latin America, especially Peru, this book contains a lot of that.
Writing Style: Honestly, I don’t remember. I remember being captivated when reading it, so it must have been okay.
Popularity: No, it’s not that popular.
Foreign: Yes it’s foreign. Do I feel more cultured after reading it? Not really. Just empowered. I now have a goal in life.
Appropriate: There are a couple explicit scenes, but they’re not especially long.
Residue: Yes, I really enjoyed the ‘bad girl’. She did what she wanted to do, and took what she wanted when she wanted. Will I remember her? Yeah. Do I kinda want to be her? Yeah.
Any problems: If I was the man, I would leave her. But he holds on, like a little parasite who is more lover than man.
Magdelena the Sinner by Lilian Faschinger
three and a half dead boyfriends out of six
Plot: Yes, there is plot. A woman dictates the history of her looking for love and murdering most of her boyfriends to a priest, who she has kidnapped. I didn’t really like the ending because it was really obvious. Yup, there’s a sexually promiscuous protagonist.
Writing Style: It was a little hard to get into the writing, but was okay once the story started to pick up. It’s written in her voice, and that doesn’t come across because I don’t think anyone really talks in that way. However, it’s also written in German, so maybe the language is more efficient or something.
Popularity: No, it’s not that popular.
Foreign: Yes it’s foreign. Do I feel more cultured after reading it? Not really.
Appropriate: It’s pretty explicit, especially with her detailed descriptions and her outrageous actions.
Residue: I wouldn’t really suggest anyone read this unless they really like religious allegories like I do. It’s an interesting read because all her boyfriends are pretty interesting. And she murders a lot of them. I’ll remember the book, but not because it was an especially good read.
Any problems: The ending is problematic, and the main character is a little Mary-Sue like.