Friday, April 22, 2005

Recommendations (UPDATED)

Just finished A Prayer for Owen Meany. Wowsa. Great book. Incredibly well-written. If you can put up with the occasional off-color reference and frequent rants against America in general and the Reagan administration in particular (i know, shouldn't be a problem for some of you), then I highly highly recommend this one. Just for the sheer beauty of Irving's style. His use of description, of repetition, of foreshadowing. Holy crap, this guy's a master at foreshadowing. I've never seen it used so deftly as it is used in this book.

It's one of those books that reminds me how far I have to go as a writer. Everything I write seems so...shallow. There's no depth to it, no resonance. But I continue on.

Also, just read the first 5 pages of Tom Robbins' Still Life with Woodpecker. After five pages, I'm recommending this (at least, the first five pages). Robbins' prose has a palpable kinetic energy. His descriptions move. He juggles and spins. If the rest of the book is as good as the first five pages, this one may be the best book I've read in years. And you know I read a lot.

So there's that.

More posts later. Maybe.

UPDATE: So i'm a bit further than page 5 now.

"Still Life with Woodpecker" is like this incredibly perverse acrobat. Shocking and offensive, yet mesmerizing. You shake your head at such profane posturing, yet you cannot pull your eyes away.

So let me revise. Robbins' skill at fashioning imagery, at clever wordplay, is impressive. However, so early in the book, it becomes, shall we say?

So, reader beware; if you are trying to avoid consuming any kind of "impure" entertainment, you'd better let this one pass. Don't say I didn't warn you.

What am I going to do now, you may ask? Well, I guess I'll keep reading. It's probably to my shame that I'm more desensitized to some of the 'bluer' elements. But it takes a lot for me to put a book down halfway.

Reading is like agreeing to take a roadtrip with the author. You let him (or her; in this case, him) drive, with some degree of trust that you'll reach the destination safely. You hesitate from jumping out of the moving vehicle in the middle of nowhere. Granted, some drivers may risk your well-being more than others. But if you find one you can trust, you'll be content to hang on through the rough spots.

Robbins' driving is so controlled and slick, I'm thusfar overlooking the muddy patches he's splashing through.

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