Friday, August 12, 2005

A few things...

Yo, it's the early morning blog from Mutt, and for those of you who are still asleep, GET UP! It was fun to see the addition of a comment from the 'Runnin Bookworm' - wonder who THAT is? - to my last blog. Someone needs to slow that kid down. It is great to have you on board!!! RB, I have never read The Thorn Birds, but it's kind of a modern classic epic from what I have heard .... anything that was turned into a Richard Chamberlain flick is automatically a cult classic. Long novels rock......I'm in the middle of a massive tome myself, see more below.

Lonesome Traveler update: JJL tells me that more news has arrived on his new publication, "Lonesome Traveler". He has just signed his entire life away in the form of a contract to give Rock & Sling first rights to his piece, which will appear in Volume 2, Issue 2 in December 2005. Next step, they will send him galleys to read and approve/edit, and then we wait for the article to appear. He hopes that it will interest however many readers this journal has in Bill Mallonee's music and that if it ever gets seen by Mallonee himself, he isn't taken aback by anything said.

The Quest for #3: Incidentally, JJL is pitching a review to another small magazine called Crux of the Jose Saramago novel 'The Double'. Saramago is a great Nobel prize winning novelist from Portugal, and 'The Double' is a riveting cautionary tale about human cloning. Ultimate message: NOT a good word back from Crux's editor, who contacted HIM to pitch an idea, not the other way around. As Springsteen says, 'from small things Momma, big things one day come....' The review is called 'You Were Warned' - later I might get a hold of an excerpt and post it here with JJL's permission. Isn't that half the point, to share your work? Speaking of that, why the heck isn't Duke posting any John F. Lovell poems of the week? Talk about writers to watch ......

Rushdie's Epic: Has anyone read Midnight's Children? I have long aspired to read anything by Salman Rushdie, widely considered one of the great writers of our day. World literature is particularly appealing to Secret Thread members - you'll read the names Saramago, Halldor Laxness, Marquez, Murakami, Tarjei Vesaas, etc. on here repeatedly - and this is one of the most invigorating forays into that category I've read in some time. Slow read though - massive at 520 pages, but it feels even larger. The last comparable book I've read in terms of its size and exotic feel was Patrick White's 'Riders in the Chariot', another hefty job. (Also a Nobel winner.) I didn't know a blasted thing about Midnight's Children before taking it on, save one fact, but it's a good one: it was awarded a special Man Booker Prize in the UK for being the BEST novel of the last TWENTY FIVE YEARS around the time of the new millennium, which is saying a heck of a lot. The fact that the best novel for 25 years in the entire UK was awarded to a guy of Indian descent is wild enough in itself, although Rushdie himself is British. This book immediately draws appropriate comparisons to Marquez' '100 Years of Solitude' for its scope and 'magical realist' approach - overused term - and it has the feel of a classic, sprawling epic. There are few other writers, if there are any, who can bridge East and West like Rushdie can. He's from the UK, descended from Asia, and he clearly knows both eastern and western ways of life. He's written extensively about the United States too, and is hip enough to have published on subjects like rock n' roll ('The Ground Beneath Her Feet'), u2, American politics, etc. He also has a 'New York' novel ('Fury') and one of the most interestingly titled books I've ever heard of ('Haroun and the Sea of Stories' - how could you NOT read that?). I also like one of his essay collection titles, 'Step Across This Line'. One of the things I enjoy the most about reading in general is when you come across a writer you think is in possession of great storytelling powers and keen insights, and as you are realizing this you are also becoming aware that the writer has about 15 other books you can check out in the future. This is how the joy of reading perpetuates itself - there's always some influential writer you haven't heard or checked out yet, just waiting to be discovered by you......if you're willing to hunt.

Go back and re-read that great poem posted by Duke Altum. It's easy to miss but the insights are just 4 lines too.......God bless the poets!

More on MC in the next blog.......keep 'thonnin', as the Runnin' Bookworm and I like to say......that means 'reading' to those not in the know.......!

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