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02 Apr 2012 at 2:17 pm #645
I read Housekeeping on Saturday and really liked it. The first couple of paragraphs really suck you in. For my taste it is better than Gilead. I’m glad that I read Gilead first, because it is a really good novel, but it would have been mildly disappointing had the reading order been reversed. Thanks for the recommendations guys.
Greg S.Quote03 Apr 2012 at 11:48 am #658
I love the new site. Nice April Fool’s joke on the main page. My own tribute to April Fool’s is here.
After reading much of the Summer, 1992, Southern Quarterly, I decided to send for Garry Wallace’s novel, Biography of a Bird Dog, A Labrador Retriever in Wyoming. Wallace is a professor there.
I highly recommend The Wandering Gene and the Indian Princess: Race, Religion, and DNA by Jeff Wheelwright, an excellent piece of history and journalism. It involves the genetic tracing of a Hispano community that descends from mixed Spanish and Pueblo/Apache American Indians.
They had valued light skin, generally, and “had wallpapered over” their Native American ancestry. Genetic testing revealed that they descended from Sephardic Jews persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition, though some of them rejected the DNA science and the recommended breast cancer scans. It is a cautionary tale about the value of DNA testing.
I also recommend GOD’S JURY: THE INQUISITION AND THE MAKING OF THE MODERN WORLD by Cullen Murphy. Available at Amazon.
Richard L.Quote04 Apr 2012 at 3:48 am #669
Nice site – very posh! I’ll have to watch me Ps and Qs, that’s for sure.
I’m currently reading William Styron’s ‘The Confessions of Nat Turner’. As I got in to the story, I couldn’t help but be reminded of McCarthy’s ‘shadowed agony in the garden’. It’s very powerfully written and full of righteous indignation; indeed it was brave, some would say foolhardy, of Styron, a white man, to, as it were, get inside the mind of an African-American slave. My copy also has an afterword by Styron that describes the incredible rage that its publication and success incited among the, largely academic, black community. I would be interested to read people’s comments about this – e.g., whether you think the rage was legitimate or not. A lot of the anger seems to speak of a moment of polarisation within the late sixties civil rights’ movement; but, as I’m still in the early stages of the read, I’m just plain not sure. Interestingly, the book that it reminds most of is Richard Wright’s ‘Native Son’.
cantonaQuote04 Apr 2012 at 8:39 am #670
Currently reading a book of Flannery O’Connor short stories, Everything That Rises Must Converge but the new first novel from Irish writer Kevin Barry, The City of Bohane is definitely next up for me. I’d been introduced to him several years ago when asked to review his first collection of short stories called There are Little Kingdoms for a friend’s Scottish lit site. I was knocked out by his writing and knew he had been working on a first novel but did not expect it to make the cover of the NY Times Book Review section last Sunday. Quite excited about it.
If interested, here’s my review of his short story collection…
There are Little KIngdoms
MarcQuote04 Apr 2012 at 11:07 am #672
Great review, enjoyed the tone.
Fantastic interview with E.O. Wilson ( a GOD!!!!) on charlie Rose last night. I am going to pick up his new book today. Called “The Social Conquest of Earth”.
Where did we come from? What are we? Where are we going? In a generational work of clarity and passion, one of our greatest living scientists directly addresses these three fundamental questions of religion, philosophy, and science while “overturning the famous theory that evolution naturally encourages creatures to put family first” (Discover magazine). Refashioning the story of human evolution in a work that is certain to generate headlines, Wilson draws on his remarkable knowledge of biology and social behavior to show that group selection, not kin selection, is the primary driving force of human evolution. He proves that history makes no sense without prehistory, and prehistory makes no sense without biology. Demonstrating that the sources of morality, religion, and the creative arts are fundamentally biological in nature, Wilson presents us with the clearest explanation ever produced as to the origin of the human condition and why it resulted in our domination of the Earth’s biosphere.
Sounds like it would make a great paired reading with the Cullen Murphy, right?
How many minimum wage hours does it have to take to live a decent life?
06 Apr 2012 at 1:14 pm #694
I had ordered two Marilynne Robinson essays and picked them up yesterday from the book shop. I started one called “When I was a Child I Read Books” and it is immediately beautifully written. I am feeling a world away from her specific conclusions…but my goodness despite our different perspectives on things (and many common ideals too) she is a terrific engaging writer. I feel as if i am actually ina conversation with her.
So far the themes and concerns remind me, as do her novels, of Wendell Berry. They both have such similar concerns about life and how people learn and live…but with their own style and compelling skills.
I must thank the folks here who pointed out they were reading her essays…it wouldn’t have occurred to me to check them out…and my little taste with them last night was quite rewarding.
06 Apr 2012 at 1:21 pm #69506 Apr 2012 at 2:52 pm #699
Everything that Rises Must Converge and her letters are easily my favorite writings by O’Connor. From that book of shorts, “The Lame Shall Enter First” is the one O’Connor story that I found myself laughing out loud during my first reading(I stopped, reread to make sure I read what I thought I read, and then laughed). Me and a few buddies still joke about Rufus Johnson. But, then again Manley Pointer, the dumb-ass, ignorant redneck bible salesman from “Good Country People”, which is O’Connor’s unapologetic bashing of contemporary academia, also gives us a laugh.
Which O’Connor shorts are capturing your attention right now?
Mike aka “mff—-”
MikeQuote07 Apr 2012 at 11:52 am #723
Thanks to Marc for recommending CITY OF BOHANE. It is terrific so far.
Garry Wallace’s BIOGRAPHY OF A BIRD DOG turned out not to be a novel, as I mistakenly said in my last post before I had seen it, but a marvelous work of creative non-fiction. After I read the book, I interviewed him about his work, his meeting with Cormac McCarthy, Betty Carey, and other things. My review of his book and the questions and answers will appear shortly on my blog. His essay, “Meeting Cormac McCarthy,” along with several of his other award winning essays will be published soon. Good stuff.
Richard L.Quote07 Apr 2012 at 12:00 pm #724
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