Sunday, March 28, 2010

sunday short stack

"Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for truth." - Benjamin Disraeli

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

sunday short stack

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." - Anäis Nin

Saturday, March 13, 2010

52 books in 52 weeks

Ridiculous! I cannot believe I've only read four books this year so far. Time to step it up...

1. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

This novel is the epic undertaking critics claim, painting a great world within the borders of Manhattan. Characters converge around the 1974 walk of Philippe Petit between the World Trade Center towers, and while some characters are more memorable than others, the whole book is greater than the sum of its parts. More balance between the chapters would have made it a bit better read for me, but others may disagree.

2. The Best American Short Stories 2009

Alice Sebold was this year's editor, and she chose some memorable selections, especially "Hurricanes Anonymous," which I can't get out of my head. Unfortunately, the pace of the collection staggers somewhat dramatically toward the end. I've never seen this happen before in a BASS collection, and I don't think Pitlor, Sebold, or the last 3-4 writers alphabetically are singularly responsible, but it was not a strong finish.

3. Blame by Michelle Huneven

I adore Michelle Huneven's writing. It's as simple as that. She takes the stuff of ordinary life and seemingly does nothing all that groundbreaking with it, but her novels stick with me in a way few do. I also stop and linger over some of her sentences and think, "Damn. I wish I had written that sentence." I can think of no other writer - except maybe Francine Prose - who infuses the accessible with insight and truth quite as well.

4. Tinkers by Paul Harding

I can't tell whether the hype for this book ruined it for me, or whether I hate nature writing, or whether I just wasn't in the mood for such indirect prose after Blame, but at times, I almost walked away without finishing it. Yes, there is some beautiful writing, and I admire what Harding was attempting, but the narrative just did not flow for me.