Growing up with Harper Lee

I find it exciting when novels are front-page news, lead items on television news and the subject of long profiles on radio news programs. It reminds me that reading isn’t dead.

watchmanSo, of course I’ve been over the moon about “Go Set a Watchman,” Harper Lee’s (maybe) lost novel that came out less than two weeks ago, and which I bought, hardcover — I can’t remember the last time I did that — and read already. Can’t remember the last time I bought a book that I read immediately, either. Continue reading “Growing up with Harper Lee”

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The Yellow Brick Road to Hell

Here’s another late-to-the-party read: Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.” Is it possible it turns 20 this year?

wickedHere’s how it ended up on my reading list: I was watching a bootleg YouTube video of the musical “Wicked,” (I’ve never seen it live. I know, shut up.) which is based on the novel. It was so clever and fun and witty and only a bit dark that I said to myself: “Hey, if the novel is as cute as the musical, this should be fun.”

(Pause goes here.)

(Little bit longer.)

(One more beat.)

Yeah, so it was anything but fun. Continue reading “The Yellow Brick Road to Hell”

Hey Classics Challengers: Maybe not magnificent, but still pretty good.

Back to the Classics Challenge after too long away…

We are on the Pulitzer Prize-winner category in this years challenge and, as usual, there were too many things from which to choose. I had great plans to read “Gone With the Wind.” I keep promising I’ll get around to reading it, as my wife can’t say enough great things about it. She even allowed me to read her copy of it. This copy was a replacement because her sister read and destroyed a copy my wife loaned her. (My wife and I are very protective of our books, there are some I won’t even let my kids read.)

ambersonsBut with other things going on and a long car trip planned, I just couldn’t guarantee its safety so I changed my mind. I wanted to read “His Family” by Ernest Poole, which won the first Pulitzer Prize for novel in 1918, but I couldn’t find it at any library (such is the enduring power of the Pulitzer) so I chose “The Magnificent Ambersons” by Booth Tarkington, which, in 1919, was the second novel given the Pulitzer Prize. Continue reading “Hey Classics Challengers: Maybe not magnificent, but still pretty good.”

Even the great ones swing and miss

Two new books by authors I love show that, well, you just can’t be great all the time.

Both novels suffer from different faults, but the end result of each was disheartening and left me with the question: “If this had been submitted to a publisher without the great name as author, would they have been published?” Continue reading “Even the great ones swing and miss”

Gentle reader, forgive me

Just because I haven’t been posting doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. It’s just that I’ve been stupid busy.

That and nothing I’ve read recently has inspired me to comment. I don’t just want this to be a blog where I bitch about crappy books.

So here’s a quick post to show you what’s been keeping me so busy. Continue reading “Gentle reader, forgive me”