The bullet drives smoothly into the swelling womb of a pregnant housewife eight blocks over, and Rudy Waltz, in this Mother’s Day double murder, finds himself Deadeye Dick for eternity.
Deadeye Dick · Kurt Vonnegut · 1982
Dial Press, 2010 · 271 pages, paperback
He didn’t mean to hit anyone; if he aimed at nothing, nothing is what he’d hit. What a sharpshooter! Twelve years old and Rudy Waltz has a lifetime of guilt ahead of him.
A Room with a View · E.M. Forster · 1908
Everyman’s Library, 2011 · 217 pages, hardcover
Oh, Italy! The tourists in E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View are stumbling over each other in their haste to appreciate Giotto’s frescoes, but they can’t appreciate them until they’ve learned which are his (and so which among all of the frescoes are allowed to be appreciated). They affect intelligence. There’s nothing new in a view so stifled.
And there’s nothing emphatic in erudition, not when it’s had for making a point. Continue reading
That yellow rain slicker, the gray rapids of a flooded street…the little newspaper boat that floats toward the stormdrain…and then the carnival smell of popcorn and the shining silver eyes of Pennywise the Clown as he offers up a balloon to young Georgie Denbrough.
The first scene in Stephen King’s IT is one of my favorite openers of any novel. It’s been probably two years since I last read any King. A new IT movie comes out September 8th though, and the novel is out in a great new edition from Scribner, so…I’m getting back into it! Truth be told, I left this one 70 pages to the end last time I read it (really, 94% through the book and I left off!) I remember the story slowing considerably toward the end, but from what I’ve heard I was at the edge of something good.
Kurt Vonnegut who, when reading him is to do mental gymnastics, is hit-or-miss for me. Slaughter-house Five is a great book and Sirens of Titan amused me last summer, but this one – Deadeye Dick – is so far just a jumble of stuff that is kind of a chore to read. I’m only about a fifth of the way into it, and I hope he’ll come around to please me with the usual zaniness.
I’m nearly finished with E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View and want to publish the review by end of week. Forster was a bit like an English Edith Wharton: wry, compassionate and, at times, acerbic.
What are you reading?
The Masthead is closing out its second quarter! A quick look at the past three months:
Books reviewed: 8 (6 novels, 1 book of short stories and 1 play, Rose’s Twelve Angry Men)
Translated fiction: 2 (from 2 languages: Russian and Turkish)
New-to-me authors: 7: all except Tolkien were new for me!
Oldest book: Collins’ The Woman in White (1860)
Newest book: Tóibín’s House of Names (2017) *but…it’s the oldest story 😉
Longest book: Collins’ The Woman in White (672 pages)
Shortest book: Rose’s Twelve Angry Men (73 pages)
A pithy recap of each book read and reviewed here since April 15:
Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White hinges on identity, on forgery, on rank suspicion, suspicion that gets the better of us and makes us rash instead of rational.
The Woman in White · Wilkie Collins · 1860
Penguin, 2009 · 672 pages, hardcover
The Woman in White is both a sensationalist thriller and a social commentary. Collins takes his shots at the marriage laws and rules of inheritance of 1850s England, and he provides a creeping horror alongside it, the same kind of horror where you realize how very trapped you are and how powerless you are to get out. A close marriage, the words invalid and invalidate; that pernicious horror doesn’t confine itself to money, nor even to love, but asserts itself as an erasure of recognition.
And this erasure necessitates a different kind of forgery – that of reclamation and the forging of a new life.
I think a person’s favorite Hemingway says a lot about them, and I think the way a person organizes their bookshelves says a lot about them, too. Not sure what these shelves will tell you about me (I’ll let you decide that), but here’s how I’ve chosen to organize my books!