I'm Back - for a little while, anyway
Monday, April 28, 2008, 9:02 PM
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...