Mother Night, Sandman Vol 2-4, The Marriage Plot, Born Standing Up, Mort, Reaper Man
“Fictions are merely frozen dreams, linked images with some semblance of structure. They are not to be trusted, no more than the people who create them.” Sandman – Vol. 2
I got behind after my move, in an effort to catch up I’m just going to do one big post that is obviously going to deal with a wide range of books. I am, truthfully, pretty happy about how much diversity there is in what I’m reading, as I try to buckle down on my own writing I’m going to try to go for a more unified theme, but hopefully I never get so bogged down in one thing exclusively that the list of books I’ve read becomes exclusively homogenous.
Mother Night, the story of a double agent during World War 2 who is being tried by the state of Israel for war crimes he committed while passing information to the United States. The story is told wonderfully, in the usual clipped pace that Vonnegut provides. There is no weird Science Fiction element to this story, which I’d already noted was a staple of Vonnegut’s work, apparently what I meant was that it’s a stable of his work that I’d managed to read up to that point.
I’ve already talked about how much I enjoy Neil Gaiman, and truthfully, I’ve already read half of the Sandman series. It just so happens that the Laurel County public library had beautifully bound editions that collected four or so volumes in each book, unfortunately the library only had two of these volumes. Now that I can take advantage of the full force of the Richland public library, well, they’re still missing the first book actually. Anyway, what I love about the series is pretty much everything. There are overall stories that are being told as well as stand alone tales. Gaiman deals in a realm of angels, monsters and magic that my own writing feels like it wants to aspire to, I’ve got two shorts in the last couple weeks one is about the naming of “Death” and the other is a Western/Ghost story. The best part of the series for me is when he does a stand alone issue, this being a self contained story where the impact doesn’t seem to have much to do with everything else in the Sandman world, a lot of times I dislike stand-alone episodes in my favorite serials because I get too involved in the main story but I think it’s a strength here..
The Marriage Plot I’ll have to try and read The Virgin Suicides before this year is out, that way I can say I got somebodies whole bibliography done this year. Middlesex really was enough for me to think that Eugenides deserves a Pulitzer, The Marriage Plot did not make me think that he did. The story was too circular, I did not like that we would start out in present time and then go back to catch up, this was employed a few times. The characters weren’t interesting, technically all three main characters were dynamic, and almost all of the characters were, nobody ends the story in the same way that they began it. Even the parents are portrayed in a different light, though it should be argued they were always supportive parents, they just weren’t perceived as such by the narrators. It’s part of the narrator’s own progressions when you get to see that the typical youth idea of “don’t trust anybody over thirty” is challenged, and it’s one of the great moments of maturity when your parents transition from authority figures to friends.
I’m a Steve Martin fan, at least I think I would be a Steve Martin fan. I liked the few stand ups that I’ve seen. I liked Planes, Trains and Automobiles, I liked Shopgirl. I realize though, that I know almost nothing about him, and in the grand scheme of things I’ve seen little that the man has actually done. Born Standing Up has been on my reading list since 2011, that’s not unusual that I just got around to it then. Anyway, I enjoyed reading about the early days of his stand up, I identified with the compulsion to be the center of attention even though you are basically a private person. Maybe I’ll end up on the stage myself? Maybe it would be better if I checked all this rampant ambition for could bes and focus on accomplishing one thing.
One of my goals this year was to start reading some Terry Pratchett novels. I am happy to say that I’ve started this process and have found it immensely rewarding. I started reading with the Death arc because my first exposure to Pratchett was The Hogfather BBC movie and I thought it was brilliant, so of course that was where I’d start. They are consistently funny and rewarding, I am very interested in the world that Pratchett is developing.