Review: The Painter of Modern Life

The Painter of Modern Life
The Painter of Modern Life by Charles Baudelaire

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I struggled to decide whether this should be 3 or 4 stars, but given that I didn’t enjoy reading a vast chunk I’ve knocked it down to 3. It was an interesting style of writing, and what drew me in particular to this book (aside from Baudelaire being recommended to me on several occasions at uni), was that it was part of a series ‘dedicated to those writings that changed the way people thought about the world’ or something… To be honest, I probably could do with re-reading the beginning, or reading it solidly over a few days rather than sporadically over a few months, as I really can’t remember much from the first part. some of it clearly struck a chord with me, as I’ve underlined and highlighted several passages, but the swathes of praise for Delacroix sort of fell on deaf ears, as I’m not that familiar with his work (and to be fair, nothing in the passages made me think ‘oh I should go look him up’). The final passage on photography and how it should not be considered art, and should remain low-brow was fairly amusing to me, not least because it was referred to as mechanical; as are certain types of printmaking, but he lauds that earlier in the book.
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Bout of Books Day 3-4

So my week of reading is not going quite as planned, I’ve been really busy as well as trying to fight off a stinking cold that is threatening to ruin my long standing plans to run a 10K this weekend. But I managed to find time to do the day 3 challenge for Bout of Books “5 Favourites” and with that I present 5 of my favourite book covers. I would say that a good cover design is definitely something that will make a book stand out – particularly when in a physical store (especially if the cover is embossed and made of a nice feeling paper), although buying online can be a visual game as well I guess.

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Don DeLillo – is one of the newer, sexy Penguin Modern Classics covers that come in silver and white. I have loads of these actually, but this is a favourite because of the stereotypical images of Americana on the front. Top right is Tom Perrotta’s the Abstinence Teacher, not entirely sure what it was about this, perhaps the white border that complements the white trim of the shorts so well?

Road to nowhere – this was a Goodreads giveaway win, I’ve taken so many photos myself of this nature, roads with vanishing points, empty expanses. Also the cover is made with this really unusual matt paper, it feels very nice to hold, I think I liked the cover more than the story. The final two I bought together, they were on display at Daunt books in London, which many other lovely designed books. the Camus one is almost booklet ish, being around 30 pages in total, the Baudelaire cover attacked me because of the letterpress style type face, and the cover is slightly embossed, I have no idea whether it was traditionally printed by letterpress or whether it’s printed modernly to look vintage in style, either way I love it, unfortunately though the cover does not have any sort of protective film and therefore porous which means it’s already getting grubby from being in bag to and from work!

Day 4 of the readathon I didn’t get too much done again, I have my Critical Reading class on Thursday nights, so I spent my day checking out some poetry for a mini assignment. I went with Maya Angelou’s Women Work as we had to say what made the poem poetic, thinking about structure and language. I don’t really know much poetry thanks to school not managing to make it engaging (sorry, War Poetry was not interesting to this girl at 14), so it’s only in the last year (after going to a poetry reading) that I’ve had an interest. I feel like a complete novice as I don’t really know what a lot of the terms mean and keep having to look things up, but at least I’m learning something.