Monday, January 04, 2010

book comments 22 (and my book count for 2009)

"Blood Meridian" by Cormac McCarthy
I understand why people call this McCarthy's masterpiece.
--gorgeous language, flowing style, highly believable characters
--what I enjoyed in "The Road," I also enjoyed in this novel
--presents a picture of the Old West that I suspect is far more accurate than the shoot-'em-up Westerns we've all become accustomed to courtesy of Louis L'Amour and John Wayne
The mindless, pointless violence of the book's characters made this a tough read for me. When I read a novel, I am THERE with the characters. When the novel is particularly well-crafted, I am not just there, I am IN the characters. But as a woman, I couldn't be in this novel or in any of its characters--because the violence done to every female character in the novel literally made me sick.
On the other hand, "Blood Meridian," like "Lord of the Flies," depicts very well the degeneracy of human beings who have no standards to guide them and no love among them. From that standpoint, the novel serves as an effective warning against letting ourselves careen out of civilization and forget the intrinsic worth of the individual and of humanity as a whole.
--recommend, but ONLY to McCarthy fans or to those with strong stomachs

"Matilda" by Roald Dahl
--story of a genius girl with special powers, fighting against injustice
What's not to like? ;oD
--engaging, charming, witty, and the best of Dahlian morbid
--highly recommend

"'V' for Vendetta" by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
--my first graphic novel, I do believe
--another fight against injustice in a dystopian future
--completely fascinating because SPOILER!!!!!!! we never see the hero's face
--vivid characters, both in dialogue and in drawing
The artist in me was itching to learn these drawing techniques. :o)

"The 1977 Annual World's Best SF" edited by Donald A. Wollheim
--collection of sci-fi short stories by Brian Aldiss, John Varley, Michael Coney, Richard Cowper, Lester Del Rey, Isaac Asimov, Barrington Bayley, Joanna Russ, James Tiptree, Jr., Damon Knight
--fun reads for the most part
--some chauvinistic depictions of women, which thankfully aren't as common to the genre now as they were in the '70s
--recommend to any sci-fi buff

Courtney's Total Count of Read Books for 2008: 46. Sadness! I'm five books short of my total count from 2008. I credit The Great Approximately Six-Week-Long Summer 2009 Reading Hiatus with this abysmally low grand total. I'd like to say I want to do better in 2010--but I'm not sure I have the power to shape that particular aspect of my reality. I might have too much writing to do. We shall see. ;o)


Courtney's Hidden Track of Unfinished Reads for 2009

"Ariel--Poems by Sylvia Plath"
--didn't finish because it got too depressing
--do intend to finish, but a poempiece at a time (instead of consuming it in big chunks the way I was doing)

"Like a Fish Understands a Tree" by Helen Collins
--didn't finish because I lost interest
--feel bad about not finishing, because this is a fellow NaNo-er who got her book published
--published by Paradigm, a consulting agency for disabilities (agency could use more highly skilled editors)
--might finish

"Strengthening Your Marriage" by Wayne A. Mack
--didn't finish because the content was not new and was not written as well as other marriage books I've read
--don't intend to finish

Courtney's Plumped Count of Read Books for 2008: 49. Dude. ;o)

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