What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination? Ashcans and unobtainable dollars!
Also unlike most book reviewers, I can choose to write about only the books I do enjoy. Over two hundred years ago, the great scholar and wit Dr.
Or if he did, he was a blockhead! In addition, I notice with surprise and delight that every single one is by a living author, all but one published within the last decade.
That says a great deal about my feelings toward the state of modern fiction. But still, that is a daunting number of books to face up to writing about. Perhaps, to a blockhead, that reason alone makes it worth the effort to try.
And yet, whatever techniques and preoccupations they employ to tell their stories, their accomplishment is the same — they spin a good tale, and delight the reader.
And not only this reader, for in most cases these titles were well-reviewed and even fairly widely read. For these are all books that I genuinely loved, and wanted to write about, for one reason or another.
No one but a blockhead ever wrote except for love. John Barth published his first novel, The Floating Opera, in In one of his later non-fiction pieces, Mr. Barth describes a young writer in a small house in Upstate New York with a full teaching load and a young family. His writing is accomplished in stolen hours, with the aid of earplugs and amphetamines.
Barth has produced a steady monument of works large and small, all interwoven with mythology, history, magic realism, unconventional techniques, and dark or ribald humor. Telegraph Avenue, Michael Chabon Michael Chabon was born inplacing him among the generation of authors coming into their maturity right now.
Some are in full flight, confidently wielding the experience and skill they have gained, yet maintaining their youthful enthusiasm — writing for the love of it, perhaps the need of it. Michael Chabon is a shining example. His first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, published when he was just 25, was followed by great success Pulitzer Prize, major motion picturesand he is still aiming higher and wider.
One side biographical note that I think is instructive: Yet he had accepted an advance for the novel — half of which had already gone to his ex-wife — plus invested all of that irreplaceable time on it, five years of his life. However, he forced himself to abandon it, and used that experience as material for his next novel, Wonder Boyswhich became a huge critical and commercial success as both novel and film.
Just caught the rhyme myself — nice. Its heart is symbolized by Brokeland Records, a used vinyl store operated by a pair of True Believers. Sometimes clunky, but still important. A couple of the shared characters — bums — are discussing the first book: I would have went about it different. Spin up some pretty words maybe, or sing a little song with language.
Just not too much. We also like the description on the flap copy, and will quote it in the spirit it was intended — to entice a reader inside: We guess virtuoso pyrotechnics fall into the same category as hooptedoodle.
The Antagonist, Lynn Coady This is an extraordinarily original novel by a young Canadian writer born The ages of the authors seem important in reviewing this collection of books that pretty much span a single decade, and a single year in my reading life.
This narrator does not set out to deceive, but he is full of self-deception and self-righteousness, and the reader soon realizes that his world-view is skewed.Paul Kingsnorth is a writer and poet living in Cumbria, England. He is the author of several books, including the poetry collection Kidland and his fictional debut The Wake, winner of the Gordon Burn Prize and the Bookseller Book of the Year Award.
Kingsnorth is the cofounder and director of the Dark Mountain Project, a network of writers, artists, and thinkers. All through and into I kept a list of the books I hoped to write about for Bubba’s Book Club.
(The key word was “hoped.”) Unlike most book reviewers, I have the luxury of choosing to read only books that I expect to enjoy — whether on the strength of a good review, a friend’s recommendation, or a taste for the author’s previous work.
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