Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Books Good and Bad, sports

I'm finally on antibiotics for the sinus petri dish living in my head--only three days in and already one hell of an improvment. Downtime drives me nuts, but at least I've read a lot over the last two weeks, here are the highlights.

Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men. McCarthy is one of my all-time favorite authors, he can write more with less than about anybody else I've ever read. If you've never read any of his earlier books such as "The Crossing" go and buy one, it's worth it. I paid full hardback price for No Country, and it was worth it. His sense of the world is so sharp and lucid--if you've been reading airport junk then reading McCarthy will feel like sucking almost painfully cold water out of a mountain stream after being forced to drink chlorinated junk in a city.

Thomas King, A short History of Indians in Canada. I wanted to like this book but didn't, it's just too damn loopy with too much over-done sly humour. There are some great lines, but none of the short stories ever grabbed me. A line or two would, then it would slide off into some tangent my mind would refuse to slide toward. I started having the evil thought that this book was so popular because the guy who wrote it was an "Indian," then decided perhaps that wasn't such an evil thought but just realistic. It does offer an interesting perspective on one Native's thought, but I want more than that in a good book.

Lama Surya Das: Awakening the Buddha Within. I hate buying books with titles like this one, it just sounds so fucking stupid to me that I tend to buy this sort of book with the same sneaking attitude I usually reserve for buying "feminine hygeine products." No red-blooded male should buy a book about awakening anything within. Anyhow, this book is damn good despite its title and lives up to the spiel a friend gave when he suggested it. I've been reading a bunch of Buddhist smack lately, this is better than average. It's also lethal for insominia as it requires careful reading and reflective pauses on what's been read--ten pages of this book would put a meth head to sleep. I'm still not done with it as result, I start off with Cormac McCarthy and when the night starts shrinking to morning I'll switch over to "Awakening the Buddha within" and next thing I know the alarm is going off. So not very awakening on a physical level but very engaging mentally.

Joyce Carol Oates: What I Lived For. I've read a bunch of Joyce Carol Oates, I really want to like her writing and often do for brief periods. "What I Lived For" is another book that seems promising but just couldn't keep me stuck into the pages. I don't think many writers can write convincinly about the opposite sex, and Oates can't about this book's male protagonist, Corky. Corky is a dick, and should think more like one to stay in character.

Dan Brown: Deception Point. This book sucks. It's the worst sort of airport trash. I read it after the Da Vinci Code, Brown's most famous book, and felt robbed that I'd paid something like eight pounds for it in the UK ($15cdn). It should give anyone hope who has ever felt that he or she could write a best-selling thriller.

Jim Harrison: True North. Jim Harrison is also one of my favorite writers. I'm only halfway through this book but damn is it good, stayed up way too late reading it, a sure sign of a good read. Harrison is willing to write about the inner chaos we all live with--many authors try, but Harrison gets it right, at least from a male perspective. I'll probably stay up late tonight again. Best line so far: " many changes in the direction of our lives come as a result of accidents, happenstances, the slightest pushes in any direction, and on a more negative side the girl you met at a gathering you didn't want to attend who infected your life to extent that the scar tissue will follow you into old age." Yeah, that sums up more than a few situations during the first 20 years of my life.

Right, all four of the people reading this are probably about sick of politics and literature, your regularly scheduled "Sick, dude!" blog will resume tomorrow as I'm actually going to get to climbing again, yeah!!!


Anonymous said...

McCarthy is a god. Blood meridian changed my life for the better ( even though there's an atrocity on every page ). And it's nice to know someone else likes Harrison. He continues to beat off the curse of all those bad movies made from his works.

michelle said...

I don't know about yours but my inner Buddha gets really cranky when I attempt to awaken him. Seriously, I read that book when i was doing some climbing, i mean soul searching, in Thailand. It set the stage for visiting some Wats to meditate.

Actually, I like your book list. Can't always blog about climbing, right? I don't. Speaking of climbing blogs, did you read that obnoxious article entitled "FIB-Gate Who Let the Blogs Out" in April's R&I?