Friday, September 9, 2011

Well, that was certainly anticlimactic

...but it gave me three posts, four if you count this one.

If you were expecting something else, something more anteclimactic (if that isn’t a word, it should be), I’m sorry if you experienced a letdown. No pun intended.

If I were sorry every time someone was disappointed in something I did, I would be sorry most of the time.

I started to say I’m much better at the arts than at the sciences, but better is not the right word. Let’s just say I’m much more interested in the arts than in the sciences, and it was only fair to give the other side of my brain equal time.

Mission accomplished.

This week I read The Road, a 2006 novel by Cormac McCarthy that was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Wikipedia calls it “a post-apocalyptic tale of a journey taken by a father and his young son over a period of several months, across a landscape blasted by an unspecified cataclysm that has destroyed much of civilization and, in the intervening years, almost all life on earth.” I read it in a single day, and it was interesting in a depressing, I-hope-this-never-comes-to-pass kind of way. It wasn’t clear what the cataclysm was, but a lot of ash was involved, possibly radioactive ash from worldwide nuclear war or violently-spewed-into-the-sky ash from worldwide volcanic eruptions or just the general chaos fomented upon the rest of us by the more riot-prone sections of the general public (the jack-ashes).

Last week I read The Help, a 2009 novel by Kathryn Stockett about African American maids working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi during the early 1960s. According to Wikipedia, “[t]he novel is told from the point of view of three narrators: Aibileen Clark, a middle-aged African-American maid who has spent her life raising white children, and who has recently lost her only son; Minny Jackson, an African-American maid whose back-talk towards her employers results in her having to frequently change jobs, exacerbating her desperate need for work as well as her family’s struggle with money; and Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, a young white woman and recent college graduate who, after moving back home, discovers that a maid that helped raise her since childhood has abruptly disappeared and her attempts to find her have been unsuccessful.” It took me two days to read The Help, almost as long as it took to read that sentence from Wikipedia. I consider Wikipedia’s use of the word “exacerbating” to be elitist.

There could not be two more different novels than The Road and The Help. The only similarity, to my way of thinking, is that both books have two-word titles. What if it were against the law to read anything but books with two-word titles? I’ll tell you what. You could read The Robe but not The Gospel According to Peanuts. You could read Quo Vadis but not One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. You could read Mein Kampf but not And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street. You could read Little Women but not Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. You could read...well, you get the picture.

Perhaps I am beginning another of my sporadic reading cycles. Only time will tell. I have been known to go years and years without reading anything at all and then try to catch up all at once in a sudden reading frenzy.

I’m funny that way.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to June Christy from the year MCML and and she’ll tell you the same thing (3:10).

18 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Bob, you could never disappoint ...

It's got three words in the title, not two, but if you haven't read it already, Primo Levi's,'The Periodic Table' brings together a brilliant convergence of the arts and science.♥

rhymeswithplague said...

Elizabeth, The Periodic Table has been added to my list. I see it is a collection of short stories. My favorite kind of reading. Thank you.

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Putz said...

i am wso so so so upset<><>upur john isner from georgia just now blew it<><>yes blew the whole thing screwing up at the net and losing america's hope for a victory<><><>damn<><>i like the americans much more than the scots<><><>i would mind an englhishman, but a scots is not for me<>><<>and isner would have been grand from, georgia, yes bob your gerorgia, but he blew it<><>it must be your fault

Putz said...

roddick coming right up better do better or i wil;l be right back here complaning

rhymeswithplague said...

It seems the comments section of this post has turned into a public forum of sorts, with Elizabeth attempting to restore a relationship with a mutual friend and Putz complaining that the number 4 seed (Murray) beat the number 28 seed (Isner) today in the 2011 U.S. Open in the sport of tennis. I can do nothing about either; I was expecting the comments to be about June Christy.

P.S. to Putz, John Isner may have gone to college at the University of Georgia, but he was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, and calls Tampa, Florida, his home.

Elizabeth said...

My sincere apologies, Bob. Ididn't mean to offend.♥

Putz said...

i think i will read one flew over the cuckoo NEXT as you suggested once again and see ifin it has gotten better

rhymeswithplague said...

No, Elizabeth, you didn't offend. It's okay. No need to apologize. Please think of me as always trying to be humorous, wearing a grin, and having a twinkle in my eye. Those things are hard to convey on the printed page, er, screen. For example:

Putz, I do not know what you mean. I never once suggested that you should read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

rhymeswithplague said...

P.S. to Elizabeth: You needn't have removed your earlier comment. I was not upset by it at all.

Putz said...

look on your today's post and you mentioned one flew over the cuCkoos, and then typed NEXT

rhymeswithplague said...

Putz! You have caught me in a rare typo. I have gone back and corrected it. Talking to you is always fun.

Wine in Thyme said...

The Road was too dark for my tastes, and I am a long-time fan of post-apocalypic novels. If you enjoy his style of writing, I would recommend All The Pretty Horses. It is filled with some beautiful descriptions of the land he loves. And the story is excellent as well.

Wine in Thyme said...

Oh, and I started The Help yesterday. Had to put it down for a while because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to put it down at all. (I have to make sure people and dogs in my house get fed.)

rhymeswithplague said...

Wine in Thyme, I have discovered that I prefer reading the darker book (McCarthy's) to the fluffier stuff (Stockett's), although I didn't enjoy it as much. Does that make sense? I suppose something like old Alas, Babylon, written in 1959 by Pat Frank, gives a more realistic glimpse into post-apocalyptic life. Neither one is attractive.

Wine in Thyme said...

LOVED Alas, Babylon. It stayed with me for quite a while. Same for On the Beach.

rhymeswithplague said...

I loved On the Beach too. I didn't read it until after I saw the movie, though, so in my brain Ava Gardner will always be watching Gregory Peck sail away while hundreds of violins play "Waltzing Matilda."

It did teach me to read a book before I see the movie, otherwise the book will not be what the author intended me to experience.

Wine in Thyme said...

two current post-apocolyptic novels: World War Z (about life during and after a zombie epidemic wipes out 80% of the world's population. Don't pooh-pooh it til you've read it. Interesting social commentary. would love to know your opinion of the new role for priests in this world) and Robopocalypse. They are similar to each other, but different in the long run.