Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Good, Evil, and Everything in Between

I've been reading since I was five years old. And not just the backs of cereal boxes or the label tags in clothing, but whole books. Non-fiction for edification, but novels for the sheer fun of a good story, which I like told through the eyes of big juicy characters grappling with brain busting themes.

But because those kinds of novels are few and far between, I'm also totally down with pop fiction. So long as it's not a Harlequin Romance (yuck) or something Chick Lit (Plum Sykes, I'll see you in heaven, ya biatch, and then we'll see who gets in the last badly written word on shoes). But Carl Hiaasen or James Lee Burke? Those guys are some of the best writers putting words on paper today. You can disagree with me if you want, but you know, deep down, that I'm right.

Still, I have been missing our current "literary" scene's lack of Big Novels lately. You know, something along the lines of Lonesome Dove or Gone with the Wind. And don't stick Don DeLillo in my face, either. Sorry, I don't care if you need a forklift to carry around one of his books, Delillo (I'll toss Jonathan Franzen while I'm at it, too) is a small writer.

Although, I think there's a glimmer of hope. I picked this up last week.


I can see why it won the Pulitzer Prize. If you haven't read it, do. It's epic.

23 comments:

A.B. said...

Having read War & Peace at 15, I learned I had an appetite for Epics and can't agree with you more - is the publishers or the writers nowadays that seem to not want a good old fashioned thick book to be published. I read the Internet has potentially re-wired our brains so our attention span is less than it used to be, so reading long novels/etc is no longer "fun".

And I just thought it was because my eyes were going bad and I can't keep a pair of reading glasses around.

Either way, I'm IN with this and off to see if Amazon wants to accept my gift card.

K9 said...

okay good. im not a big reader im embarrassed to say. but i trust you and will read this. can you believe i actually read the road? i was like -is anything going to happen? it was so much of the same page after page no pay off. maybe that was the joke/point? the only spark was happening upon people nekkid trapped in a basement. or whatever. boy that made me so sorry i suffered thru it.

a.b.'s point might speak to my struggle to read.

K9 said...

oh aunty reccommended i read kristen lavranstatter - it was hard -i mean the language of it - but it was good. i also read blind sight or something about a guy who starts drinking hallucinegenic datura tea. loved that except for the dopey ending. sorry for the typos. i can write either.

iamnot said...

Can you give me the reader's digest version? not much time for reading lately...but I might go with this on your recommedation (and a short summary).

btw, your print is in the mail.

czar said...

these days when I'm asked if I have read xxx, my standard response is, "not unless there was a paycheck on the last page." occupational hazard.

bless all you folks who buy books or get them from the library or wherever. i'm glad there are still writers being published who can keep folks entertained. and that is no joke. most of the books i work on are the literary equivalent of thorazine.

A.B. said...

To K9 - my reading of novels has dropped over the years - but I love to visit independent bookstores (and Amazon when I have gift cards).. I find I'm buying more collections of short stories and then if there is one author I like, I'll buy their book.

Czar's comment is funny :-) because many of the books I try to read put me to zzzzzz.

K9 said...

grrherhahaha to czar! a check at the end. i love that. btw czar im in brookhaven. i lived in decatur right on the graveyard. i also lived in little 5 points and out in cobb which was terrible.

czar said...

k9:

you can verify it with moi. when i say "a check at the end," it is no joke.

well, you'd have been neighbors to my dead kinfolk. my mother and mother-in-law are buried right next to each other in decatur cemetery, right behind the Super 8 motel, and if we live long enough, that's where my wife and I will be buried too.

and i love your picture. reminds me of triumph, the insult comic dog -- perhaps my favorite entertainer of the modern era.

K9 said...

i LOVE LOVE LOVE triumph. he is a bad ass. funny a puppet can get away with murder! grrherhahaha

moi said...

A.B.: Ah, yup. War and Peace is good. So is The Brothers Karamazov. That'll take about three pair . . .

K9: Were you around for my lampooning of The Road? Oy vey's all I got to say on that one. I bow down to your ability to get through it. I think Doris Rose needed meds.

Iamnot: Aid workers of all kinds, ages, and motivations butt heads in Sudan. And the writing, the writing is so ding dang elegant I should just go grow corn.

Czar: ROTFL. I am here to attest you are right and you are SERIOUS. If I did what you did for a living? I wouldn't even be able to read LABELS. But, dude, not even a comic book?

TROLL said...

In 1972, Caputo was part of a writing team that won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting on election fraud in Chicago.

In 2008, he was quoted as saying that Chicago Politics is filthier NOW than when he did his Pulitzer Prize Winning (and very brave) reporting.

Wow, that was awkward said...

Lonesome Dove is my favorite book. And you are right, most of my faves are all older books that have been around for a long time. I'll try your recommendation. Have I pimped Shadow of the Wind to you? Best recent book ever.

I do like a Hiaasen or Leonard now and then. Between the more mind numbing ones.

moi said...

Troll: I think I read that about him somewhere. I will definitely pick up his other works.

WTWA: Yes, I remember you pitching that book to me, but I couldn't remember the name. Thanks, I'll Amazon it. And, yes, not much compares to Lonesome Dove, the book OR the movie.

TROLL said...

Carl Hiaasen has completely lost the ability to write. And think.

If he tried to publish something under the nom-de-plume John Smith, it would be rejected.

czar said...

Troll:

I think the same is true for much of the poetry that appears in magazines like the New Yorker. If the name is familiar, it's published. If it's sent in over the transom, it goes in the trash. To save everyone else the trouble, I have thrown in the trash every poem I personally ever attempted to write, especially all that self-absorbed teenage crap.

moi said...

Troll: Sorry, you are right. I should have amended that to say, "Early Hiaasen." No one in that genre can touch his stuff.

Czar: Well, most artists eventually run out of steam at some point. Some can reinvent/reenergize themselves. Others can't. That being said, I don't know much about modern poetry, but much of it I don't like. I stopped at Anne Sexton. Poet Laureate, who drops in here on occasion, can maybe enlighten me.

K9 said...

david bottoms was our poet laurate for a while. i loved his stuff. very georgia. one of his books was "shooting rats at the bibb county dump" grherha

Meghan said...

Oh yeah, off to Amazon.com to order that one!

(sorry I've been absent lately - the rats are SO damn demanding of my time.)

Al (the inventor) Gore said...

I was the inspiration for the 7 foot-tall weed-wacker-armed rice-drispy-faced villian "Chemo" back in the days Hiassen could write.

That was shortly after Tipper and I were the inspiration for the sappy movie " Love Story".

Wicked Thistle said...

And to think, just today I was thinking, "Hm, I really need a good book. I'm just not satisfied with that 5-foot stack of unread books next to my bed. I need something fresh."

So thank you.

moi said...

K9: Hmmm . . . I think I've read David Bottoms.

Meghan: Well, howdy, stranger, nice to see ya! But did you just call your chillrens "rats"?

All: I simply cannot BELIEVE how you get around.

Wicked: You already HAVE one of my books. Or was the print too small after all?

Wicked Thistle said...

Oh, yes, ahem, of course I do. And I'm reading it RIGHT NOW. And it's excellent. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm (that's from Max, who will back me on this)

Now I'm off to find that book.

Meghan said...

They are a bit like rats you know. Both my babies arrived in the middle of the night, and now all they do is steal all the food in the house.