13 March 2012

Where the heck have I been?

When I launched this blog, I promised myself that I would stick with it.  So where have I been this last month?  Well, reading.... a LOT (and knitting a lot, but I digress), but not ready to blog about some of it.
I finished Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood in February.  I gave it one star on GoodReads. I didn't like it, no, I did not.  All the characters were unlikeable.  The physical self-mutilation was horrifying, the emotional self-mutilation was just plain sad.  And there was a certain squishy, clammy realism about humanity that was kind of nauseating to me. 
I can't understand Hazel Motes' "Church of Christ without Christ" - what is the POINT??  Is he an atheist?  Is he reacting against the evangelical Protestantism and itinerant preaching of the South?  Reacting against World War II?  The loss of his home & family?  All of it??

  I loved O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find in the early 1990s.  Maybe it's a better book (short stories, really) or maybe I am different now.  Anyway, I wouldn't have been as wild about Flannery if I'd read Wise Blood first. I admire that it was likely a radical book when it was first published in 1949, but I just didn't enjoy the Southern Gothic existential malaise.

Finished Jeffrey Eugenides Virgin Suicides a couple of nights ago.  I think Eugenides is quirky good.  I liked Middlesex when I read it a few years ago (almost 6 years ago!  Time flies!).  This one wasn't quite as gripping somehow, but let's face it, it was his debut book!  I think the author is completely fascinated with the lives of women and girls... especially the hidden aspects of life.  The "narrator" of this work is a male peer of the girls.... the desperation of wanting to know, to SAVE the girls is palpable.  I think Eugenides wants to know everything about women.  By Middlesex I think he allowed himself to become one, if only in his imagination, but vividly so!  Are we really that interesting and mysterious?

This book was pretty angst-y too, I mean, they all kill themselves (no spoiler there... note the title), but it wasn't just the girls giving up on life, it was their house, falling down around their ears, and even the elms, dying on their street.  The girls were prisoners to their parents' over-protective behavior.  Perhaps it's a morality play: Mom & Dad hold onto their daughters so tightly, they crush them to death.  Making Lux burn her records won't stop her from loving rock 'n' roll; keeping her locked in the house won't even keep her from finding a long list sexual partners.  One CAN'T control another person.  There might be the temporary appearance of control, but eventually it will end - and quite possibly, BADLY.

I've read four books that I'm not ready to blog about yet: "The Hunger Games" trilogy (I'm on Mockingjay, Book 3 of 3), and Dennis Lehane's "Kenzie & Gennaro" mysteries (on Book 3 of 6).  I know I'm always late to the party, but WOW.  I read A Drink Before the War and Darkness, Take My Hand in about three days each.  Each of these series is all of a piece, so it makes sense to treat them as such. 
Bear with me between entries!

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