Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Books, Glorious Books

As I've taken down my "Currently" snippet--where I showed what I was reading, watching, playing, etc...--I realize that I've neglected to plug any of my current reads. This has been even worse as I've been updating my Goodreads account and just assuming that everyone knows what I've been reading and whether or not it is worth their time. So, I'm going to take a moment to plug two of my current reads: Drown by Junot Diaz, and The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin Jr.

Drown is a collection of short stories by the recent Pulitzer Prize winner of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao--a book I can't recommend highly enough. (If you haven't read it--especially if you are into comics and fantasy and nerdy crap--it's one of the best books ever. Even if you aren't into that stuff, I'm sure you will be blown away.) Now having read Diaz's earlier work, I don't think I would've been so floored by Oscar Wao. Right from Diaz's early beginnings, his story-telling and voice are impeccable. Really. He's the kind of writer that is both inspiring and soul-crushing. Inspiring because he shows what a wordsmith can do with a few choice words. Soul-crushing because he makes a fledgling author want to all but give up his attempt at writing because he will never amount to even a fraction of Diaz's talent. It's not fair. Not fair at all. But that being said, it goes to show how much everyone needs to read this man's books. The amount of emotion he can stir up within a person in such a small amount of space... I really hate this guy and his amazing talent. I continue to be in awe of him, and I suggest that you do yourself a favor and buy one, or both, of his books.

The Book of the Dun Cow is a much different read by comparison, but enjoyable nevertheless. While I might not be envious of Wangerin's writing, I'm still jealous of his emotional manipulation. (I need to work on this in my own novel.) He's got me caring about chickens and mice and dogs more than I ever have before. Many have compared this novel to Watership Down and/or Animal Farm, and while I see why they've done so--this is an allegory involving animals--the themes and overall emotion goes in a different direction than Adam's and Orwell's masterpieces. This might not be a book for everyone, but from what I've read, I'd be doing a disservice to the world of readers if I did not give it a bit of a push in their direction.

Really, there's not much better for a writer to do than read--then pass on the good finds. And if you want to see my lengthy list of recent reads and mini-reviews, hit me up on Goodreads. You can find me by searching for my lengthy email: chris(dot)smith(dot)mailliw(dot)william(at)gmail(dot)com. Just tell me you read my blog and I'll befriend you.

No comments: