It is Christmas Eve here in Australia. That can only mean one thing in the Messenger household! It is time for me to reveal my favourite book of 2016.
This was a simple selection, with the book in question standing head and shoulders above anything else I’ve encountered this year. Whether we are talking sheer size, depth, subject matter, challenge, or the phenomenal translation effort that has been put in by John E. Woods, that work alone certainly equating to a lifetime achievement award, “Bottom’s Dream” has been all encompassing, all pervading, a work that has crept (on massive feet) into our house and taken over. I’m sure regular visitors here would have guessed this book would be my “number one” of 2016.
Although I am only a shake over 100 pages into my 1,500 page adventure, it is impossible to think of any other book that I’ve encountered this year that has involved me so much. In fact it is difficult to think of any book that has been so impressive for the whole period I have been running this blog.
A 1,496 page cryptic puzzle, that will not be solved, but the fun is in the journey, the personal revelations, the research, or the depths you can take this to if you so choose. Not a book you sit down and read for more than about 2 or 3 pages at a time, it is going to be a long long journey before I am even close to completion. I am more than happy for it to be a slow ride, this is like the finest of wines, or single malt spirits, something to be savoured. I have also managed, over the last three months, to work out a nice balance between “Bottom’s Dream” in the evenings, after dinner and before bed, or on the weekends, and other works in the day time, on my daily work commute or in bed. The balance at the moment working, although the TBR pile seems to be growing a little too much out of control. Maybe it is time for a New Year’s resolution, no new books until I’m done with Schmidt???
As my blogging journey is going to continue with the exploration of the intricacies of “Bottoms Dream” and regular posts along the way about my exploration, there is not a lot I can post here, in a summary post, about it. This is not the place of going into extreme detail.
Let’s just leave this as a short mysterious post that calls out the outstanding work of Arno Schmidt and the translator extraordinaire and move on towards 2017 knowing full well that I have a long and arduous reading journey ahead.
I am very surprised that this book hasn’t made any of the “best of 2016” lists that I’ve seen, surely other readers have come across it, and must be suitably impressed. Maybe it will make the 2017 lists, once people manage to finish it. Having said that, I did see another blogger mention that their favourite book of 2018 will be this one given it is going to take them two years to read it. I think I’ll be in a similar boat!!!
Thanks to all my regular readers for popping in throughout the year and may I wish you a very happy festive season. I have a few more posts planned before the end of the year, but I am quietly confident that I will not suddenly come across a book that can hold a candle to Schmidt’s one.