Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happy New Year!

I can't believe that my last posting is from a book I read last summer in Houston! I'm back in Austin now, of course, and months have passed. Oh, so many fine books and interesting times! Just returned from a six week walkabout, half work, half-play. Colorado, Orlando, Tampa, South Beach, Key West, Manchester, Glasgow, London, Oxford... But as the Wizard of Oz reminds us, there's no place like home.

It's a cold and rainy saturday night. Before heading off into the night to ROCK, a couple of backdated posts:

Leisey’s Story by Stephen King

Yawn. It’s a word I’d never associated with the master of pulp horror before. King has dee-lighted me from It to Skeleton Crew. But Leisey’s story is just a little… dull. Ultimately, my problem is that the narrative voice of Leisy just isn’t very interesting. And the trick of having her never curse, but instead use silly made up curses, like in Misery, well… It worked well for a psychotic nurse. Once. And sifting through the ashes of a marriage is an interesting thing, but... Well, for a beautiful and much shorter take on this, Joan Dideon was far more worth ones while. Anyway, not much else to say here except that I wasn’t impressed.

Thinner by Richard Bachman

If you’re driving and getting a blowjob at the same time, try not to run over any gypsies. They can curse you and make you get progressively thinner. Cool novel, fun premise, fairly weak AIDS parable, as people described it in the eighties. Classic Stephen King from a time before it was known that Bachman was a pseudonym. Good resolution. Nice, wicked little tale.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by JK Rowling

Well, it’s done. It must be a challenging thing to wrap up an epic fantasy novel.
Especially one whose popularity has so exploded that it’s become way more than just a series of books in the collective mind of planet Earth.

The final installment in the boy-wizard saga is fine. It’s not good, really. At least most of it isn’t. There’s an interminable ‘wandering in the woods’ section in which our three friends have fallings out and dues ex machinas pop out from behind every bush. But the big battle for Hogwarts at the end is fairly satisfying, and we get a checklist of all the things that should happen in an epic novel like this. Lessons learned, love triumphs over hate, martyrs are made, old friends lost, etc. Funerals? Check. Marriages? Check.

IF this sounds overly snarky, I apologize. I did very much enjoy the sprawling Harry Potter series. Ultimately, there was just as much substance here as there is in a Hogwarts Value Meal from McDonald’s, which seems appropriate, since commercialism swallowed this franchise up whole, and will likely dance around in it’s skin for the next fifty years. At least until Rowling starts her next series… I think I read somewhere that it’s going to be called, “Scarry Trotter and the Sorcerer’s Bone.” It’ll be produced by Vivid.

Thanks JK. I enjoyed your novels.

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