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July Magic Number

One thing I LOVE about LJ/DW is how we are all readers! Out here *waves hand vaguely* not all of us are readers. But in here, we adore words and the fantabulous ways in which they work.

I’m a voracious reader and have been since the 4th grade when I contracted Rheumatic Fever and spent half a year in bed. Reading. Also, military brat and moving every three years had me spending a lot of time with my closest fictional friends. I did stop reading fiction for a decade when my kids were being born and I was incredibly caught up in the physicality of my life. I still read like it was a job, only I was reading about birth and nursing and natural foods and when god was a woman.

Now I’m back on the fiction. I’ve always preferred the Modernists, the Beats and the SouthernGoths. DH Lawrence, Jack Kerouac and Cormac McCarthy are all beloveds. So my taste runs more towards wordy novels about everyday folk.

Here’s a few recommendations by contemporary writers that I think should be better known.

Nick Cave – And the Ass Saw the Angel

I had been reading Faulkner and O'Connor in college, but it was this ASTONISHING SouthernGoth novel from an Australian punk rocker that opened my eyes to the true underbelly of hellbilly literary fiction! I had no idea. I tried to bring a copy into my uni prof but he wasn’t having it. He really had no knowledge of the SouthernGoth underground, but I certainly buried myself in it - Harry Crews, Cormac McCarthy’s first four novels, William Gay and yes, AtAStA! This book is something that cannot even be contained or explained by genre. It’s an ambiance. It needs to be read and absorbed into your very being. Of course, I see the McCarthy influence, near-entire lines lifted out of Child of God, but Nick’s originality shines through, especially in the birth scene.

Sarah Hall – Electric Michelangelo

I love this book so hard it hurts. And so should you. It’s brilliant and lyrical and historical and modern. It’s thought-provoking and engaging. Hall is a wordsmith and a deep thinker and I love all her work, but this one is the closest to my heart. Unfortunately, she has a strange time error in the last chapter and the entire chapter should have been cut and put in another word folder on her computer. But, because every chapter that comes before is so fantastic, I just ignore that mistaken misstep.

Gregory Maguire – Mirror Mirror

I think this man is seriously underappreciated in contemporary literature. He has never written a single word that is out of place. Is it because he writes literary fanfic? I would say it is. He’s most known for his brill Wizard of Oz stuff, but this take on The Garden and Snow White is really his masterpiece. His interp of the seven dwarfs sucked all the breath out of my lungs.

Tobias Wolff – anything and everything

THE MASTER of the short form. So so so good. If books were crack cocaine, this man would be the purest rock. He is dangerous and addicting and will lay you out on the dirty sidewalk.

Colin Barrett – Young Skins

Another up and coming master of the short story. I don’t know why he wrote this book and a handful of magazine published shorts and then….kinda sorta disappeared. I selfishly want more. This collection made me hurt.

John Fowles - Ebony Tower

The long form wordsmith tackles the novella length and this story is in a class of its own. It should be taught. It’s so good. And it combines some of my favourite things – love triangles, figurative symbolic art, old goaty artists and unrequited love.




( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 23rd, 2019 08:28 pm (UTC)
One thing I love about DW/LJ is that I can come back to this and make a list of your recs.

I don't know if I can do a list of books right now. Not really up to reading, but my kindle has a words-to-voice option and when I'm like this that is such a blessing. Takes a bit of getting used to the mechanical voice, but it keeps the words coming.

I'd never heard of your books, so will be watching for And The Ass Saw The Angel to begin with. I think I'll remember that title without too much trouble.

Jul. 23rd, 2019 11:03 pm (UTC)
*sigh* And Mt. ToBeRead grows ever taller.
Jul. 24th, 2019 03:25 am (UTC)
one of my friends loaned me the electric michelangelo a bunch of years ago and i mostly remember it as being very dense. i liked a lot about it, tho.

and the ass saw the angel is so intriguing! i have to put it on the to-read list.
Aug. 2nd, 2019 12:26 am (UTC)
The only one of those I've read is "Mirror, Mirror," though I found it harder going than some of Maguire's other work. Possibly because the unjust parts of the storyline pissed me off. The seven dwarfs, though... SO unexpected, and so very interesting. That alone was reason enough to read the book. :)
Aug. 2nd, 2019 12:38 am (UTC)
I would love to read a psych article about these books and shows that are so difficult to read BECAUSE of the unjust parts, K! I think it would make a brilliant study. Those things are HARD and yet we put ourselves through them because I think most of us lean moralistically and we want to know that the unjust receive their just rewards.

Yeah, his imagination! Have you read his take on the Nutcracker?
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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