Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Sunday Salon: On The Road at last

At long last I am traveling through Cormac McCarthy's The Road. There was a time in my life, probably my late teens and early twenties, when I gobbled up apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic novels. I remember one period that ended with my reading Neville Shute's On the Beach. I'm not sure what novels preceded this, but this was my last for awhile because I started having dreams—vivid, end-of-the-world dreams. Then I had kids, and one generally doesn't read books about nuclear terror when one has sweet babies around. The two don't mix too well.

I stood by the library shelf for a couple of minutes trying to decide if I really did want to read The Road. I don't have babies any more, after all. I added it to my bag, and I'm nearly done with it now. I am disturbed that the child in the book is probably around the age of my youngest, but I'm able to take myself out of the novel and read it for its sheer cold, brutal beauty. This afternoon I'll read the last 50 pages.

I told a friend last night that The Road reminds me a lot of a short story I wrote in college—when I was in my apocalyptic state— called "Public Storage." It's weird how that happens sometimes, when a best-selling novel or hit movie echoes eerily of something I wrote in my 20s. It's kind of like how my friends and I would have certain fashion styles that only we wore to be unique, and then a year or so later they'd be a national trend. I'm just saying.

But back to reading. This week I participated in the Book Review Blog Carnival at Linus's Blanket, did a little scribbling on the topic "Art" for Sunday Scribblings, and also recorded my findings for Library Loot. I gave up on reading Charles Martin's newest, Where the River Ends. I don't like giving up on books and rarely do so (although that's my second dud of the year), but I just could not get into the book. I really loved Martin's When Crickets Cry. But I haven't been crazy about any of his other books, so I should have left this one on the shelf.

I reviewed Dedication (review here) by Nanny Diaries authors Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (pretty good) and am getting set to review Amy Tan's The Bonesetter's Daughter. (Fantastic.) To the kids I'm reading Carl Sandburg's fabulous Abe Lincoln Grows Up. And that's what's happening in our reading world! For more Sunday Salon posts, go here and take a look!


Lisa said...

I have small children and while I want to read The Road, I can't bring myself to do so. I brought it home from the library once, but didn't crack it open.

I was unimpressed with Dedication, I thought it could have been so much better.

gautami tripathy said...

I loved The Road. Another book which somewhat reminded me of The Road is The Suicide Collecters by David Oppegaard. Latter is one of my best reads in 2009, till date.

My TSS post is up!

Overeducated Twit said...

I loved The Road. I guess in part it is because I am in that 20s-post-apocalyptic kick, but more than that, I am in love with the prose itself. Never before had I read a book where it seemed like there was not one word too many. I got so caught up in the beauty of the prose, I almost didn't get the full effect of the bleakness.

Catherine @ Sharp Words said...

I really disliked The Road. It was well-written, with the bleakness of the prose matching the bleakness of the story, but I couldn't enjoy reading it at all although I made myself finish it (well, I did want to find out what happened). That said, I would recommend it to others, but with caveats.

I think I've read The Bonesetter's Daughter - if it's the Amy Tan novel I'm thinking of, it was excellent.