Look, I know it has been since February of 2014 since I properly updated this blog but tough titties, man. I’ve had things on my mind. One, the novel. Two. . .well, I’ll have to come back to number two. Just know that there is a number two, and it’s a doozy. There’s probably a number three also, but I’m not going to push my luck with it.
In an effort to get me blogging again, and once again giving my voice a, um, voice, I figured I might review the books I’ve read this month. It might not be interesting for you, reader, but anything to get me blogging again is a good thing.
A Miracle of Catfish, Larry Brown
I’ve written about Larry Brown before. I never wanted to read this novel because (a) it wasn’t finished and (b) it was Brown’s last novel. I guess I thought that by finally reading it, I was finally admitting he was dead. I guess. More likely is that I didn’t want to read it because it wasn’t finished. I like endings. Endings are good. Endings are necessary. The last page of Catfish is a short outline of what was going to happen next.
It’s hard to judge it without an ending. I think the writing is great, typical Larry Brown: gritty grittiness with passages of beauty. His writing is like the jock who also reads poetry or, perhaps, like a prisoner who reads poetry. Either way, you get my point. He doesn’t overwhelm you with you beauty. It comes out of nowhere and hits you over the head. It’s the same here.
The novel is written in third person. One chapter, though, is written in first, and it’s my favorite moment from the novel. The narrator only appears in this one chapter. He shows up, talks to the reader for a while, and then disappears again. It’s brilliant and funny, and I am going to steal the idea from him.
Final note: A Miracle of Catfish is the greatest title of all time.
Law & Disorder, John Douglas and Mark Olshaker
Look, I like true crime. But John Douglas doesn’t make me feel icky for it. His books are the only books I read in the genre. There’s not much else to write about. It is what it is: there’s some dead people, some people wrongly convicted, and John Douglas saves the day. The end. Oh, his analysis of the Amanda Knox trial interested me more than I figured it would. I don’t much go for media-hyped murder trials. To sum up: she didn’t do it, and it’s ridiculous to think she did.
The Shrinking Man, Richard Matheson
I only read this because Stephen King is so big on it in Danse Macabre, his book on the horror genre across several media. (Am I using “media” correctly here?) It’s about, well, a shrinking man, but not only literally. He’s also becoming emasculated. He can’t get any, and even before he starts shrinking his wife isn’t putting out. After he begins shrinking, she’s kind of creeped out by him, and he longs for sex. The frankness surprised me.
I wonder at what point having sex with a shrinking man is no longer creepy. If he’s the size of a three or four year old, and wearing the clothes of a three or four year old, that’s going to be very creepy. But at some point, maybe around the 10 inch mark, it might seem kind of kinky. I’m not saying I’d have sex with a ten inch tall shrinking woman (Lily Tomlin starred in a film version), but I’m not saying I wouldn’t either. I better move on.
Scribe: My Journey as a Sportswriter, Bob Ryan
I’ve been a Bob Ryan fan for a while. He’s funny. And the fact that he knows more about the NBA than just about anybody, covering the Celtics (as a beat writer or columnist) at the tail end of Bill Russell’s career, through the Havlicek/Cowens and Bird/McHale/Parrish eras, is a bonus. It’s supposed to be a memoir, I guess, but it’s mostly anecdotes and his opinions on various sports topics–and one regrettable chapter on his love of music.
I enjoyed it, and I was reminded of The Sporting News, back it when was a weekly tabloid printed on newsprint. I was a subscriber in the early-90’s, at the end of Bird’s career, but I think I let my subscription lapse because they didn’t cover enough basketball. I also wanted to be a sportswriter at this time in my life. Anyway, reading this brought back fond memories and old dreams from a time when nice moments were fleeting and dreams were unattainable.
Well, that’s it for January. Maybe I can keep this up.