Tag Archives: John Barth

Most Vivid Reads #4

Entry #4 in my “Most Vivid Reads” list (“most vivid” being a very similar but slightly different list than just a straight “My Favorites” — the books highlighted here are the ones that have been the most memorable reading experiences, the most vividly injected into my brain (and therefore life), whether or not I re-read them to death). Previous posts in this series can be found here.

The Road — Cormac McCarthy

If you’ve read it, you knew it was coming on this list. The Road is not just engrossing, it’s enveloping. It’s spare writing (I swear 90% of the book is white-space) but each sentence paints such a vivid picture in your head you’ll feel you watched it on screen (they did make a movie of it, but it feels like there’s really no need to see it (I didn’t, even though it starred Viggo Mortensen!) because the novel is so visual, so vivid). Continue reading

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Two novels

I recently finished two classics, and damn were they worth the designation, both of them — The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (1932 Pulitzer Prize) and All The King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren (1947 Pulitzer Prize). They’d been sitting on my shelf for years, finally got around to them (the list is so very, very long, and then there are all the movies too…!)

The Good Earth follows the life of an ordinary Chinese man, Wang-Lung, from the day of his wedding to the day of his death, during a time of world war, revolution, and great upheaval that touches him directly barely at all. It’s the land that changes him, and then, human foibles that undo him. The sentences are very simple, and roll along quite easily. A simply-told, profound story.

Before a handful of days had passed it seemed to Wang Lung that he had never been away from his land, as indeed, in his heart he never had. With three pieces of the gold he bought good seed from the south, full grains of wheat and of rice and of corn, and for very recklessness of riches he bought seeds the like of which he had never planted before, celery and lotus for his pond and great red radishes that are stewed with pork for a feast dish and small red fragrant beans.

The book jacket on my copy says this book is of interest for anyone who wants to know about Chinese culture, but I say Continue reading

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