It’s 2017! Where has 2016 gone? It was a great year for reading, and I met my reading challenge (notice I’m not saying “goal.” I have a tricky relationship with goals and reading, as I’ve addressed in this specific context before). Here’s how the year went: Continue reading →
Summer is a great time to get started on that stack of books that you’ve meant to tackle for some time; between sunning by the pool, jet-setting all over the world and just having a break to finally breathe from the mayhem of everyday, non-summer life (for the lucky ones, that is), this list is your answer to breaking out of reality and getting lost in some great prose.
It’s happened again! After several months on the library waiting list, it was finally, finally my turn to get my hands on the book I had heard so much about: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I was so excited! I had heard so many good things. That it was one of the great works of contemporary literature. Moving. Award-winning. Incredibly done. Continue reading →
I read this book several years ago. Read it closely, marked it carefully, had every intention of posting a thorough and thoughtful analysis at the time. Life got in the way (and let’s face it, life is still in the way). But I was doing some reorganizing lately, and I saw several tabbed passages in the book, and started re-reading some of the portions I marked. And while I can’t remember the book in its entirety, the tabbed portions alone tell a story that is still close to my heart. Anyone else grinding it out in corporate America (or corporate anywhere, for that matter, or just grinding it out in life in general) will probably relate to at least some of these.
In a recent blog post, I talked about some of the praise this book has received. I know the dangers of the oversell, I do, and I would hate to have someone not read this book for fear that it could not possibly live up to the hype I am heaping upon it, but this book was, seriously, front to back, page by page, sentence by sentence, one of the best novels I can remember reading. And you know how much I read. More than a book a week, all year every year. And this one belongs near the top. A star is born. A new favorite. Continue reading →
A new contract, a lottery, an escape, a sacrifice. Oh, and the ogdoad (i.e. a group or set of eight) [shiver]. The chapter heading is rich with the promise of big, wild events to come (note: these chapter headings are increasingly becoming one of my favorite parts of Blood Meridian) . Glanton’s group leaves Ures rather quietly, just three days after arriving. (p. 204). They have a new contract for Apache scalps signed by the governor of Sonora. Carroll and Sanford, the newest members of the gang, and never really a part of it, decide that they have had enough, and “defect.” (Id.). But the group gains a new member, a boy named Sloat, left sick to die by a gold train passing through weeks earlier. Apparently there is a commodore with the same last name, and there is a funny exchange between Glanton and the boy about whether they are related. Continue reading →
There are three major events in this chapter: (1) the group’s visit to the small stone town of Jesús María; (2) the group’s visit to Ures, the capital of the state of Sonora (curious, I looked on a map, and Jesús María is about 1570 kilometers, or (by my rough guesstimation) approximately 981 miles away, through hard, mountainous territory); and (3) a really, really bad day to be a mule or a muleteer in between. At the end of Chapter 13, Glanton’s gang has killed and scalped Mexican soldiers, burned their uniforms, buried their bodies, and turned the scalps in for bounty. There is a very vivid image of the group re-entering the city “haggard and filthy and reeking with the blood of the citizenry for whose protection they had contracted.” (p. 185). Perhaps not surprisingly, they leave the City of Chihuahua in somewhat of a hurry, going north as if headed for El Paso. But before they are even out of sight, they turn west “toward the red demise of that day.” (Id.). There are repeated inferences that the group is “cursed.” Cursed or no, they are certainly a curse to everyone they encounter.
It’s hard to rate a book of short stories with a single “out of 5 stars” rating. Some of these stories I would definitely give 5 stars (e.g. “Sophia,” “One of These Days We Have to Do Something About Willie,” “Closure”). There were a couple in the beginning that were pretty raunchy. The J.C. Audetat one wins the “one of these things is not like the other” award. The “Kindness Among Cakes” wins for “shortest yet still thought-provoking.”
One of my greatest personal fascinations is the concept of perspective. Personal perspective. Perception. The way we view the world, and ourselves in it. Point of view. And how the overlapping perceptions of and with others influence that perception. I think that’s why I was destined to love The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman.