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Book 8

  1. Berger, John — Ways of Seeing (149 pages)
  2. Vonnegut, Kurt — God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian (72 pages)
  3. Roth, Joseph — The Legend of the Holy Drinker (100 pages)
  4. Hrabal, Bohumil — Closely Observed Trains (87 pages)
  5. Bloomfield, Barbara & Chris Radley — Couple Therapy: Dramas of Love and Sex (171 pages)
  6. Feist, Raymond E. — Magician (689 pages)
  7. Feist, Raymond E. — Silverthorn (424 pages)
  8. Faber, Michael — Under the Skin (296 pages)
Page count
1988
book cover: Under the Skin.

I'm not sure I've looked forward to a book/movie combo so much in recent year as I have Under the Skin. I've had the book for about 3 years and was eager to start reading it as soon as I learned a movie was coming out. However, release of the movie was delayed for about 2 years, and I was beginning to despair it would ever get made. Once I heard there was a definite release date, I made sure it was the one book I brought with me to the Scottish Highlands.

So, let me get this out of the way now: If you saw the movie, I… hell, I don't know what to say. I wish I could scrub that pseudo-artistic claptrap out of my brain. Not since Hollywood got Rising Sun so completely wrong has the movie industry so completely failed a book.

Under the Skin is a brilliant book, one of the best "first encounter" novels I've read. It take place in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands, our heroine, Isserley, cruising the lonely motorways for hours a day in her specially-customised (but completely nondescript) vehicle looking for suitable hitchhikers — always male, fit but not too fit, unattached — to pick up. Isserley meditates on nature, the ocean, the loneliness of the roads, the nature of the people she meets, the nature of her own people, while dwelling on her feelings of inadequacy, anger, discomfort with her own skin, depression. It's a subtle, tender, thought-provoking, and poetic novel which I would recommend to anyone.

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