So in case anyone was wondering, I finished reading David Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
. I have to finish the appendices still. I liked it a lot. I think he's pretentious and wants people to like him and think he's interesting, but a) I think a lot of worthy people are like that, myself included, and b) that doesn't mean that he's not likable and interesting, because he is.
The other day in the mall I walked past the B. Dalton. Mall bookstores are pretty useless, particularly for browsing, but I knew I was almost done with A.H.W.O.S.G.
so I decided that I'd go in and see if they had anything by David Sedaris, and they did, so I got that. Whilst on line I saw The Dark Knight Returns
on the Employee Recommendation rack, so I got that as well.
I saw David Sedaris read on the David Letterman show. He seems like my kind of guy.
There's something from A.H.W.O.S.G.
that I keep meaning to excerpt here (can you use that word as a verb?) The book is an autobiography, of a man no more or less spectacular than you or I. So he discusses the owning of events, and privacy. How if something happens to him, then it's his, and he can discuss it, even if the other people involved aren't thrilled about it. LiveJournal causes problems between real-life friends a lot, and I felt the passages were very fitting. I'll remember to post it eventually.
I like the way Eggers writes. I recently read An Invisible Sign of My Own
, by Aimee Bender, given to me by a friend
who thinks the world of her. I like the way she writes, too. One thing she does is not use quotation marks. For me, this gives everything a very different feel. When quotation marks are used, I feel as though I am there at the scene, witnessing the unfolding of events. Even when the story is told in the first person. But when they're absent, I feel like I'm in the narrator's head, watching her memory
of the events. Sometimes, during dialogue-heavy parts, I wished it were different; but most of the time I liked it.
I like reading, a lot. My brother
is I'm pretty sure almost
as bright as I am, and he now enjoys reading, which pleases me to no end. He didn't when he was younger, and it's totally my parents' fault. When I was a kid -- starting when I was like, very very little -- my dad read to me, every single night. Multiple Golden Books. As a result, I was reading at three. I pretended to be afraid of the dark indefinitely, so that my mom would leave the hall light on and I could read in bed. When one of my parents came to look in on me, I would hide the book under my pillow. I would get yelled at
for reading. Who gets yelled at for reading
? I would bring a book with me to restaurants, so that I had something to do while we waited for the food. But my poor brother, being born five years later than I, got the proverbial shaft, and didn't get read to every night. Man. We also have a LOT more photographs of me than him. I think that's the way it turns out in a lot of families.
So anyway, what? Oh yes, I enjoy reading. I don't read nearly as much as I'd like, nearly as often as I used to. I love how different writers write so differently, and it's all so enjoyable. I read a lot of Stephen King when I was in middle/high school, but then I sort of stopped. And then I thought I was too good
for Stephen King, because he's popular and trashy and horrory and pumps out a book a year.
But one day I was at my grandparents', and looking at my grandfather's bookshelf. He said I could borrow something. He reads a lot too; he has to write down the titles he reads, otherwise he'll forget, and start reading the same book twice. I decided to borrow Bag of Bones
. I had read a review of it that had said it was less supernatural-ly than most of his books.
Ten pages in, and I remembered why I used to adore him so much. He . . . he just describes everything
! Every little detail of every room, all the important stuff. He's so good at setting a scene, and of course, of course, the inner dialogue. Stephen King, I will not speak ill of you again.
And then there's Frank Herbert. I would never admit that I have read the entire Dune
series, but I have. Herbert's descriptive skills are okay. Not horrible or anything, but that's not where his talent lies. I also get bored at the long didactic stuff, the speeches of the God Emperor, the Bene Gesserit quotes before every chapter. I read them all dutifully, but if I didn't totally
get it, I usually didn't bother to go back. But the world that man has created! Nay, the universe
! The stories are interesting, but that universe
-- to see how everything fits together, to follow themes over thousands of years, to actually understand
-- and I'm talking about what the reader is doing, not what is spelled out in the text -- the motivations and connections between all these peoples and religions and planets -- it's really wonderful, it's really quite something.
And then there's Vonnegut, too, and also Catch-22
, and William Gibson -- of course I could go on and on, but the point is that there are all these authors, all these different ways of writing, and they're each so beautiful and effective
at getting the reader to feel what the author wants him to feel. I'm no Liberal Arts major, I haven't been trained since high school to analyze anything, I'm just a layperson, enjoying the hell out of man and language and the ability of the former to use the latter to affect his fellow formers. Man. Go read a book, dude.