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Wednesday Reading Meme Wednesday

What I've Just Finished Reading

So around page 200 or just before, all the good and bad pieces of The Naked and the Dead begin to click into place and it becomes REALLY GOOD. Mailer has a gift for creating sympathetically unlikeable characters. Actually, I'm not sure that he hasn't just re-written the stock characters of WWII-era propaganda entertainment in a gritty realistic style -- a good idea that works for the most part. There are some exceptions. Some of Mailer's decisions about how to render internal monologues lead to characters whose motivations read like racist editorial cartoons, when with a little stylistic adjustment they would only be Maileresque. I wouldn't have made it through The Naked and the Dead if it hadn't been on a list, but I'm glad I did.

What I'm Reading Now

A Distant Trumpet, why are you so boring? I'm having the hardest time with the second book in the Water Damage Club, and I don't really know why. It's still got that weird, glossy Oscar Bait flavor to its seriousness, and my ability to care about any of the characters is still hovering perilously close to zero. It's not that I don't approve of their aims -- hating everything the characters stand for gave me no trouble at all in The Naked and the Dead, or the Horatio Hornblower books, or Stargate SG-1. I don't know what it is. Should I try to power through the whole thing, or give myself the option to bail after another 100 pages?

Started Party Going, the 1939 selection for 99 Novels. It's so much shorter than The Naked and the Dead that I already feel a sense of relief -- even if it does begin with a bird flying into a wall to its death :(

Oh, and The Skull Beneath the Skin by P. D. James, which is. . .odd but promising. But odd! Oddly promising?

What I Plan to Read Next

I never really know the answer to this, do I? I still have a chapbook and an unfinished books list. It could be anything, really.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 25th, 2015 01:24 pm (UTC)
a bird flying into a wall to its death

Well, that's an interestingly overwrought beginning. Is the rest of it like that too?
Feb. 25th, 2015 02:17 pm (UTC)
Remarkably enough, it doesn't feel overwrought at all! The death isn't described graphically, but is noticed by a viewpoint character, who then becomes quietly obsessed with the dead bird as other people try to talk to her about normal things. It's very subtle and weird, and a little creepy, but not yet in a way that's hostile to the quietly bird-obsessed character. I'm intrigued for sure.

I haven't gotten very much further than that, though, so I don't know if it changes. So far, it's kind of great! There's an odd, drunkish quality to the prose style that is pretty effective at conveying mild confusion and disorientation in the viewpoint character and the setting (a public transit station in a thick fog).
Feb. 25th, 2015 01:47 pm (UTC)
Should I try to power through the whole thing, or give myself the option to bail after another 100 pages?

I think you should definitely have the option to bail, but it is hard to do, isn't it? Unfinished books lurk accusingly in the mind forever after. But, pfft, you have many others to read! :-)
Feb. 25th, 2015 02:19 pm (UTC)
I have SO MANY BOOKS to read. I think I'll give myself another 100 pages and the option to bail at the end of them -- or at least throw it into limbo for a month or so.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


blase ev

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