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Friday, May 18, 2018

Making The Payoff Worth Your Time

Which first - bad news, good news or dilemma?

Bad news? If not for my recent re-read of JM Coetzee's "Disgrace", these past several weeks would qualify as the most dispiriting period of reading in my post full time work life. Several OK books and a few more that required some slogging, without much payoff; thank goodness for Coetzee.

Good news? The current drought gave me a legitimate excuse to review my notes from all the worthy books I've finished since last June. Why? Because of how many books from that pre-drought period went unmentioned here given my reduced blog post output.

The dilemma is, of course, what to feature today. Drum roll, please ...

Partial to memoirs? With or without a soundtrack? "Unfaithful Music And Disappearing Ink" (2015) by Elvis Costello and "Beautiful Boy" (2008) by David Sheff, respectively, should scratch those slightly different itches. Prefer novels with multi-cultural overtones? Straightforward or challenging? For the former I'd recommend "The Leavers" (2017) by Lisa Ko;"A Brief History of Seven Killings" (2014) by Marlon James takes a lot more attention, but the rewards are significant. Something light, but not lightweight? "I'll Take You There" (2016) by Wally Lamb combines a fantasy about stepping inside the movie of your life with a strong feminist message. Prefer gravitas in your novels? Walk on "The Green Road" with the 2015 Booker Prize winner by Anne Enright or "Salvage The Bones" (2011) with Jesmyn Ward. Non-fiction, you say? How earnest? "The Working Poor" (2004) by David Shipler is highly educational, flawlessly researched, deeply unsettling. "Complications" (2002) by Dr. Atul Gawande helps the learning go down a little easier.

More where these came from but, it's a start, right? Considering the significant exposition overload of the second and third paragraphs, giving you more for your money is the least I can do.


1 comment:

  1. Why do I get the feeling you’re fishing for other “worthy books”, those I have reread and taken apart? Get yourself a different flavor of worm. Your bait needs changing, bright boy. I’m not biting.