Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own. Read it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

John Updike, My Father's Tears

John Updike, My Father's Tears. He wrote the same stories over and over again in dozens of gentle variations, exploring every permutation and perspective. Every time I read a collection of his, I remember that I prefer his novels. But I also enjoy thinking about the nature of memory, and defining stories that evolve as they are told over our lifetimes. So if you want to read about a solitary and beloved only child who moved from the town to a farm (or a middle-aged man dealing with bodily decay and the aftermath of divorce or adultery) told and retold in beautiful language, read Updike's short stories.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Cormac McCarthy, The Road. The apocalyptic waste land crossed by vaguely doomed and asymmetrically flawed travelers is Cormac McCarthy's logical end point. The Road is minutely engrossing (like most stories of scavenging survival), and the parent-child emotion pulls more blatantly even than usual. I always love all McCarthy's characters, despite the inevitable, and against my will. I think that's his point though - people love every damn thing and it can't be helped.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Donald Ray Pollock, Knockemstiff

Donald Ray Pollock, Knockemstiff. Good stories, but harsh. And not harsh like drinking bad whiskey, harsh like eating cigarette butts soaked in bad whiskey.