Here is this week’s Booking Through Thursday question:
Finding a book you love and then hating everything else you try by that author?
Reading a completely disappointing book by an author that you love?
Writer’s aren’t perfect, obviously, but it is disappointing to read a book by a favorite writer and not like the book. I hit that point with Hemingway a few years ago. I had read most of his fiction, but not much of his nonfiction, and so I started Death in The Afternoon, his 1932 treatise on bullfighting. This book personifies, sadly, the blowhard macho Hemingway that gets overmythologized and that often overshadows his writing.
Yesterday I was reading the post, The Naked and the Read, at Bookslut and was reminded of my recent reading of William Hjortsberg’s novel Alp.
Alp is a campy, twisted novel of an imaginary Swiss resort, in which Playboyesque (or perhaps Benny Hill) shenanigans run amok. But the naughtiness is bubbly and carefree in the way the Bookslut post decribes old Playboys from the ’60s and ’70s, not very sordid at all.
(I once had an rare book dealer give me a bound collection of Playboys from that carefree era — part of a library collection from an estate sale — and the Bookslut post is right, those old issues had sexier, less self-conscious pics. I had to take the collection, by the way, to save the souls of the teenage boys in the book dealer’s church youth group.)
Alp’s twisted humor is fun. How can you not like a book that has a cannibal dwarf who wants to breed captive humans (two nuns and a stranded honeymooner, specifically) as livestock? Or a half-page aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaugh! as the honeymooner Howard tumbles from the resort’s malfunctioning teleferique?
You may know I’m limited on my Internet access, but here is a brief post to catch you up on what I’ve been reading:
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Alp by William Hjortsberg
- Beautiful Children by Charles Bock
- There Will Never Be Another You by Carolyn See
Of those reads, I’ve enjoyed Bock’s Beautiful Children the best. It seems to catch our current time, our emotional state really well. And moves through so many levels of society that it’s almost dizzying. Plus, I like Bock’s story. He’s 38 or 39, worked on the novel for years. Not a Wunderkind by any means.
Oh, and besides my limited Internet access, posts have been infrequent because I working diligently on revisions of the book.
Very cool, you can now follow my updates on Twitter.