To make up for the…

To make up for the computer entry, here's a literary one. Mostly, I want to recommend the book I read yesterday, Marilyn Robinson's Housekeeping. It's a slim novel, and rather astonishingly slow-paced -- in fact, I'd say that it gets slower and slower as the book goes on. But the language is lovely, worth savoring, and the ending I found so satisfying that it justified the glacial pace. In fact, it rather required it, in retrospect. This book won the Pen/Hemingway award, and then her next book, Gilead, which I have just ordered from Amazon, won the Pulitzer. I'm looking forward to reading it.

At the moment, I'm reading Amitav Ghosh's first book, Circle of Reason. It's a bit slow too, but I love where Ghosh has come to as a writer -- he's one of my heroes -- and I'm curious enough about where he started that I'm willing to put up with a bit of slowness. Lots of phrenology in this one (and now I can't remember which seriously creepy sf novel it is that takes phrenology as the central element).

I felt the need to read some denser books after a steady diet of popcorn and fluff over the holidays. Mostly it was good, entertaining, well-written fluff, although one of them, David Farland's Runelords, was so amazingly terrible that I can't quite believe it even got published, much less turned into a NY Times bestselling empire. Well, I can believe it, because it's actually chock full of fascinating world-building and surprising plot and character twists. But the writing is *so* incredibly clunky that it's actually painful to read. Kevin read it first, and warned me, but I didn't believe it. Maybe Farland gets better -- his errors do generally seem to be the sorts that beginning writers are prey to. But it makes me wonder what the heck his editor was thinking. Maybe sie was just as fascinated as we were, wondering how a writer could be simultaneously so good, and so bad...

I still haven't managed to finish the book, despite having picked it up over and over again -- I think I've read about eight other books since I started this one. But I'm only about thirty pages from the end, so hopefully soon...

(Hmm...looking at Amazon reminds me why it's dangerous to write critically about books; Farland's real name turns out to be Dave Wolverton, and I know him, though not well. If he comes across this -- well, sorry, Dave. I figure you can't mind this little journal entry too much, since all indications are that you've been making pots of money off this series, and I did say some good things about it too...)

One thought on “To make up for the…”

  1. That is so funny! I just happened to read “Housekeeping” over Christmas in Miami. LOVED it. Her language is GORGEOUS, and I loved the characters. I also loved the setting, which is so familiar to me (and I’d just been in mid-northern Idaho for Thanksgiving)…. It’s “Marilynne” Robinson, by the way, for anyone trying to look her up.

    xoxo, m

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