Book-wise it was as strong month. How I read a total of 6 books at over 1,600 pages is beyond me. I enjoyed each one and most of these had a slight intertwining theme that was not planned which I found fascinating. Works from Brown, Cunningham, Doctorow, Brodsky, Hill, and McCarthy.
Before we get to the books, here is my amazing son, Conor, over the years. Still can't believe he is already going into first grade here in a couple weeks...
Now on to the books...
Origin by Dan Brown
Dan Brown's fiction is enjoyable, although predictable and downright silly at times. Origin is the latest Robert Langdon adventure. We find the professor of symbology and religious iconology this time unravelling the mysteries behind the unveiling of answers to the most sought after questions: 'Where do we come from?' and 'Where are we going?'. Attacks on religion aside, it was a fun ride. But - and it is a big 'but' - I was really disappointed in the answers...I was expecting something much more profound. There was such a huge build up of around 300 pages, and then bam a huge let down. I really do hope Brown abandons Langdon, at least for awhile, and writes another stand-alone novel!
Golden States by Michael Cunningham
Signed First Printing
I love reading an established author's first novel. You can always sense greatness, in fact sometimes their first effort is their best effort. In the case of Cunningham, his first is not as bad as he wants you to believe (he'd rather you not read it and has taken it off his oeuvre). There is not much substance to this novel, but you can surely sense his greatness. The story sort of meanders at times, just as the protagonist, David Stark, does as he approaches and swims through the depths of adolescence. A story about growing up, finding oneself, and making it through a broken home. A nice story, not awful at all...and hopefully Michael Cunningham will soon realize this fact.
Welcome To Hard Times by E.L. Doctorow
Another first-novel. This time by the great E.L. Doctorow. This a little bit of a departure from most of his later novels and short stories. If you were to tell me that William Styron, or Thomas Berger, or even Patrick DeWitt wrote this novel I would believe you. It takes place near the Badlands in a town called Hard Times. A mean SOB wreaks havoc, killing, raping, and nearly burning down the whole damn town. Even so, our subtle hero decides to re-build the town and establish a place of decency...will he succeed? A great and gritty tale!
Nobel Prize for Literature - 1987
Watermark by Joseph Brodsky
First American Edition
This is a love story, an ode, to Venice, Italy. And I liked this novella about as much as I liked visiting the city Venice itself...It was just so-so. Some beautiful scenery/prose. No watered-down passages in this book, however not much substance; not much of anything grows out of Brodsky's serene and delightful words. It was nice and it was pretty, yet perhaps I will like Brodsky's poetry much more, how I like Venice's sister cities of Florence and Rome significantly more?
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Ok, WOW! I did not expect to like this as much as I did. I have read most of Joe Hill's work and I personally like him already over his father, therefore I knew this one would be good, but his best-to-date?...nope! I love how Hill blends horror with comedy and mystery. NOS4A2 is about a man named Manx who takes kids from their 'rotten' parents and delivers them to a place called Christmasland where Christmas is year-round and unhappiness is never allowed. It is also about a young lady named Vic McQueen who uses her 'inscape' abilities to find things and people...and now she must find Manx and his Wraith. An extremely enjoyable ride, unlike the one his victims take within the Wraith!
Child of God by Cormac McCarthy
This may just be my favorite McCarthy novel. And that is saying a lot, considering I gave 5 stars to the Border Trilogy. But, man was this book terrifying, gripping, and even gratifying in a twisted way. And the Faulkner-esque writing is superb...but of course you expect this from McCarthy. This is a book I cannot wait to read again within the next 5-10 years to see what my thoughts are then. This story takes place in the hill country of Tennessee and our protagonist/antagonist is a 27-yearold orphan who turns to brutality and disgust after losing his home. The savage violence he commits are not usual, they are breathtakingly gruesome, yet you find herself craving the bloody yet poetic descriptions McCarthy offers and spews. So poetic, so moving, so terrifying....so brilliant!
What are you currently reading?
What do you recommend?
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