January 27th, 2008

reading/writing, books

Mostly Books

On Saturday, Lisa raved about a modern fantasy book she'd read and offered to lend it to me. I duly borrowed it and began reading it today. Yuck. I hate borrowing people's beloved books only to dislike them. But this one (Martin Millar's The Good Fairies of New York) had three big strikes against it. (1) It is written in very spare language -- short sentences, simple vocabulary, little description. It reminded me of Ernest Hemingway (perhaps my single least favorite writer), except that (2) Millar apparently thinks he's funny. And (3) I didn't like a single one of the characters, which is always the kiss of death for me.

I think the spare language was a particular shock after all my reading of Patricia McKillip these past weeks, but I've never been fond of that kind of writing. I loathe Hemingway ... though I must admit that on that count I have been mightily swayed by the fact that he found it hilarious to watch bull-gored horses run around with their entrails dragging in the dirt. (He said if you couldn't see the humor in it, then you had obviously never seen it for yourself.) But I never liked his books (or short stories) even before I learned his feelings about bull fighting from Death in the Afternoon. Death in the Afternoon was just the straw that broke the camel's back. I haven't even tried to read Hemingway again since. It's sort of like -- stay with me here -- Tom Cruise. See, I think Tom Cruise is crazy and just plain wrong, and I don't want to support him by seeing his movies. That's the way I feel about Ernest Hemingway after reading Death in the Afternoon: this man is so wrong there's no way I can support him by reading anything else by him. The big difference being that I used to enjoy some of Tom Cruise's movies (Magnolia, anyone?), but I've never enjoyed Hemingway's books.

At any rate, I've put aside The Good Fairies of New York without finishing it, because I got 3/4 way through and still wasn't enjoying it. Instead, I started reading a Charles de Lint book I picked up at Black Oak Books on Saturday, called Spirits in the Wires. I'm enjoying it much more. I think I'll get back to it now, in fact.
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