I'm Back - for a little while, anyway

Monday, April 28, 2008, 9:02 PM

I have a few days of respite from my recent craziness, so I thought I'd pop up and say hello to my blogging friends (especially seeing as Josephine Damian has been making me feel guilty about staying away :P). I've been a busy boy with all sorts of things lately, and I will return at a later date to tell you what I've been up to. In the meantime, I thought I'd share a little of what I've been reading lately...

Rope Burns, by F.X. Toole

For those of you who don't know, Rope Burns is a short story collection based in the world of boxing. It was adapted for the screen as Million Dollar Baby, which deservedly won four Oscars. F.X. Toole was the pen name used by boxing trainer Jerry Boyd. He was also a model and a bullfighter in his lifetime. He took up boxing, and went pro, in his forties. He didn't become a published author until his seventies (an especially astute agent read one of his short stories and snapped him up). If ever there was a lesson in not giving up, this is it. Sadly, F.X. Toole passed away before Million Dollar Baby took the Oscars by storm, but he left behind a collection of stories that manages the rare feat of being both brutal and beautiful. Check it out, along with a posthumously published novel, Pound for Pound, which I intend on reading very soon.

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

Now, opinions are divided on this one. I know at least two friends of this blog were less than dazzled with this Pulitzer winner. I picked it up over the weekend, having meant to read it for ages, and I've got to say I'm absolutely loving it. Although I'm a fast writer, I'm a painfully slow reader. It takes me ages to get through a book, partly because I get so little time to read, and partly because I tend to reread passages as I go, making sure it's all sunk in. Like Rope Burns, I've found myself chewing my way through this book in record time. True, it's hardly a sprawling epic at less than 240 pages, but it's rare that I find a book that grabs me so hard I have to keep going. I'm really finding it hard to put this one down. A lot of that is about the style, and I may post later in the week to expand on that. Anyway, for those of you who didn't like it, I understand, it isn't for everybody, but we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I think it's terrific.

My ever expanding To-Be-Read pile has a few more interesting bits and bobs to go yet. The Mark by blogging editor/author Jason Pinter, to name but one. Plus, I'm looking forward to re-reading American Tabloid (one of my all-time favourites) and The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy in anticipation of the third part of his American Underworld Trilogy, apparently titled Blood's a Rover, which I believe is due in the coming months.

And somewhere between all that, some writing might get done...

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Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

Well, my issues with THE ROAD is not the style or writing, or even the story, it's that the vast majority of people reading it have never tackled better, more intriguing books with much the same themes because they're found in the "sci-fi" section of the bookstore. Ditto with Harry Potter.

11:27 PM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

**issues are...derrr.

11:29 PM  
Blogger jjdebenedictis said...

The titles of the two James Ellroy books are fascinating me. What genre are they?

3:11 AM  
Blogger Barrie said...

Ahh...new books to read. Love it! I'm the opposite of you though--a fast reader, but a slow writer!

3:01 PM  
Blogger Conduit said...

SS@S - I'm going to make a post about The Road in a day or two, and we can have a debate/fistfight about its good or bad points.

JJ - Anything by Ellroy could be grouped under 'Crime' or 'Noir'. Although American Tabloid, like most of Ellroy's work, is set in the past, it is so much bigger in scope than - well, just about anything in crime fiction. It spans several years from Kennedy's White House campaign up to his assassination. The story is told from the POVs of two FBI agents and a professional thug, and also features a big cast of characters drawn from history - Howard Hughes, Jack Ruby (who it seems was very, very fond of dogs!), Hoover, the Kennedies themselves, and more. Like all Ellroy, it's densely plotted and written in a terse, hardboiled style. The Cold 6k is set in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, then Blood's a Rover will apparently be set during the Vietnam/Nixon era.

Barrie - Thanks for stopping by, and congratulations on your upcoming publication. :)

8:44 PM  
Blogger Ello said...

Hey you! Good to see you again! And I loved the Road so I'm glad you are enjoying it!

6:11 PM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

Oh boy, I'll have to find it and read it again. It's been quite awhile.

I don't say that I didn't like it, btw. I did like it. I did find it a quick read. It just didn't offer a whole lot of new themes to someone who reads spec fic as extensively as even I do (which isn't as extensive as some). But I'm always up for a good fistfight. Don't forget your ice packs!

7:47 PM  
Blogger Josephine Damian said...

Looked it up.

"the cake is a lie"

Roughly translates to "your promised reward is merely a fictitious motivator". Popularized by the game "Portal" (found on Half-Life 2's "Orange Box" game release for PC, X-Box 360, and PS3)During the game, an electronic voice encourages you to solve intricate puzzles using cake as a motivating perk. When you have "broken out" of the game's initial testing phase (from threat of death), you find scrawls on walls of the innards of the testing center warning you that "the cake is a lie".

I see what your, time waster is (as opposed to mine: the Internet).

THE ROAD is a lie.

After you read BLOOD MERIDIAN - the gold standard for violence and evil - you'll get why THE ROAD is a "shower of shite" - (I've got so very many new phrases in my vocabulary these days lol)

3:10 PM  

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