Long Time Coming

I've been away (still am, actually) and just now am getting around to updating the last few weeks of reading I've done. So, this entry will be a bit abbreviated, but it will get the job done.

I read Saul Bellow's novella A Theft a few days ago, and I must admit to not liking it much at all. Thinking back over it, I must concede a few points. The ideas are excellent here; I'm just not sure the execution is everything it should or could be. It feels disjointed to me, even though it comes entirely from the mind/experience of the protagonist, Clara Velde. I do wonder if the short form hindered the development of what could have been a finely crafted piece. Still, it gives me a taste of Bellow to compare the other, more famous and revered, works of his that I plan to wade into soon. Each character had the hints of great things, but it wasn't enough to let me really know them. Conversely, had the thing been edited into a true short story (as apparently several magazine editors urged Bellow to do before he gave up and published it directly to trade paperback), it could have gathered up that fantastic terseness and intensity that only the short story can accomplish. In between, it does too little or too much depending on where you stand.

After that, I grabbed from Tom and Dee's shelf The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A. J. Jacobs. I've been wanting to read this one for some time, so I took advantage of its convenient proximity and dived right in. It did make me laugh out loud at points, and I appreciated Jacobs wry commentary on some of the stranger bits of religious histories and practices. A fun and intelligent read.

Now, I am beginning Ivan Doig's Bucking the Sun. Doig is the author that Scott has recommended so highly to me, so I'm looking forward to talking this one up with him tomorrow when we see him. So far, though I am just a small handful of pages in, I am enjoying the language, the characters, and the story immensely. It seems to be a very complete work. In fact, as naptime is approaching, I can hopefully make some more headway soon.

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