Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday reading

The Known World: I finished listening to it Sunday afternoon; a couple of the bands on the 12th disc were messed up, so I ended up in the library reading the short passages I missed. What is it with the dogs in this novel? So many dogs show up that they must symbolize something -- how we treated people in southern slavery? The impassivity of nature? The judgment of nature? Or were dogs ubiquitous in southern society and simply showed up in the author's imagination as ways of painting the scene? A dead dog (a sheltie!) contributes to the novel's violent denoument. Anyway, the novel is deeply involving, with great, complex characters and a wide-open narrative style that yanks the reader back and forth in time, much like Amy Bloom's later novel "Away." Is this a narrative trend -- blow up the conventions of linear storytelling to give us information on the future of characters? Is it, shudder, post-modern?

Secret of Lost Things: This book is tougher going than I thought; I'm just about halfway, and I think the plot just showed up. Still, it's interesting to be inside a bookstore not unlike the Strand.

Tagging: I need to hit the index, get the stuff I need (literature review due Oct. 7, my wife's and my anniversary) and get out; it's written like a textbook for people who have never used

Tortilla Flats: I started listening to this Sunday, after I returned "Known World," but it's so arch that I may not be able to finish it. I chose this over "Plot Against America."

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