Monday, October 26, 2009

What's New?

Read Last Week: Philip Roth's The Ghost Writer, about (surprise, surprise) a young male Jewish writer from New Jersey.

I've only read one other Roth book before --- his take on the medieval play Everyman. I found both novels to be highly accessible, compellingly written, but not really groundbreaking or original or, in the end, all that entertaining. The Ghost Writer is about a young man breaking into his career field as a writer. He talks to an older writer/father figure, and he deals with his family's reception of his work and other things. Then there's a fairly strange turn about three-quarters through. I read it as an assigned reading for my Postmodern Literature class, and I think it was included as "Postmodern" for its alternative take on history, and, to a lesser extent, its uneasy construction, which slips fluidly into flashbacks and is fairly malleable in terms of its timeline (though it ends up being linear in the end). [Geez, what's with all that alliteration in that last sentence?]

Reading Now: Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun, an anti-war novel from the '30s that shouldn't really be reduced to a description like that. From the first few chapters, it's been pretty impressive in its style. Trumbo uses a nearly punctuation-less prose that is effective, although I would never consider writing that way. Good to see stuff like that sometimes. So far, the narrator's reminiscing on his childhood before he made his way to war, but as the book progresses he realizes he was extremely wounded during the war and is now laying helpless in a hospital somewhere. He's got a strong voice, kind of like Holden Caulfield, but definitely not as snarky. I did find Johnny in the "Teen" section of my local library, but I think it's one of those books (like All Quiet on the Western Front) that can appeal to younger and older readers.

Playing: Borderlands (PS3 version). Pretty cool so far.

Listening to: Tokyo Police Club's Elephant Shell after grabbing their EP A Lesson In Crime off my shelf over the weekend. But it's feeling like it's going to be a very Morrissey Monday Morning.

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