Thursday, April 5, 2012

Various readings for make glorious nation

As I mused about doing before. These are a few books I've been reading, and my responses to them. Sort of a snapshot.

The Angel Esmerelda, by Don DeLillo: This is an author I've been greatly marked by, and have I guess made some attempts to copy. It's been a while since I've read anything new by him, though. This is his first short story collection, as he's more associated with novels. As it turns out he doesn't always need a novel-length canvas. "Midnight in Dostoevsky", which first appeared in The New Yorker a couple of years ago, makes its self-consciousness a virtue.

Dororo, by Osamu Tezuka: I got this as a gift recently, and it's an inspired one. It's a massive omnibus book, and I've just read the first few chapters. They stand pretty well on their own. It's about a warrior who, as a baby, had all his vital organs sold by his father to demons. (The old man doesn't seem to have considered that the demons might just be testing his pliability.) The results are kind of nightmarish but as they say, it gets better. You have to train yourself to read things in revrse if you're not used to reading manga, but Tezuka gets great use out of white paper and black ink.

'Salem's Lot: Vampires invade small town Maine. Early Stephen King. I read it a long time ago, and I'm rereading it for a book club I'm in. Sort of. It's been expanded to at least double length since I first read it. While I think it mgiht lose a little focus, I don't see a lot of obviously tacked on stuff. One thing that hasn't changed, I think, is that while the hero and heroine aren't that interesting, the doomed (even before the bloodsuckers showed up) townies are well drawn.

Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior, by Christopher Boehm: Sort of dense anthropology stuff, but readable by the layperson. I think I may give this one its own post later.

So I'm not sure what any of this proves, if anything. Basically I try to keep things diverse. I've got Thorne Smith's Topper from the library, and I have a feeling that will be fun.


susan said...

I'll have to take your word about Don DeLillo and Stephen King as I've never read either of them. Well, that's not completely true since I read halfway through The Shining, realized I wouldn't be able to go to sleep, and woke up the person sleeping next to me so he could tell me the rest.

I'm glad you like what you've read of Dororo. Manga wasn't my thing either but Tezuka is an an amazing combination of storyteller and artist. His series called 'Buddha' is both inspired and a lot funnier in parts than you might imagine.

Lastly, it looks as if synchronity has raised its head since it was just last week we watched the original with Cary Grant as George Kerby. It was pretty silly but quite enjoyable.

Ben said...

Hmm. I'm looking up excerpts from this "Buddha" series on the web. Looks pretty stylin'.

I don't know if I ever saw that movie. Something tells me I may have see the start of it, but not really understood anything. In any case, I'll be going into the book with niether knowledge nor pres-whatchamacallit.