Read: August 4, 2013

Deliverance by James Dickey:

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I’ve circled this for a awhile, but figured I’d never actually read it.  I knew the story, though I’ve never seen the film. 

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I expected it to be pompous and full of hot air, and it is, with all the trappings of your typical manly survival narrative a la “…Francis Macomber” or Deer Hunter.  However, I didn’t expect Dickey’s novel to be a page-turner.  I assumed I’d pick at it for a few weeks and finally finished it, but a few spare hours later I was halfway done, and I stayed up until early morning polishing it off last Sunday.  It’s rare that a book with a reputation still has the power to carry one along like the best trash does, but there you go. 

 Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison:

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Another book by an unrepentant man’s man.  After this week I’d be surprised if I don’t have double the chest hair and three times the pubes.  Three novellas in this one, including the title story.  I saw the movie twenty years ago, in small theater in Bowling Green while I was visiting my wife (then girlfriend) at college.  I remember mainly Brad Pitt’s hair (extraordinary) and Anthony Hopkins’s strange gargle of a voice after his character’s stroke. 

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The story is hogwash, honestly, but I read that Harrison’s work should be taken seriously, so I dipped a toe.  “Legends…”  is the weakest of the three.  The first, “Revenge”, was made into a film with Kevin Costner and Madeline Stowe, but I never saw it.  It’s fun, fun, fun.  Bloody and sexy and full of Mexican sand and long comma-less sentences.  The second story, “The Man Who Gave Up his Name” is surprising, in that it’s a gentle story about lost suburban love, acute and affecting and a bit like the parts of John Irving that aren’t about bears, wrestling, and/or missing body parts.

Also Read:

The Map that Changed the World by Simon Winchester

The Destiny of the Republic by Candace Millard

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Origin of Satan by Elaine Pagels

The Son by Phillipp Meyer

Nos482 by Joe Hill

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

I’m going to try CrossFit this week, so this may be my last post.  If I make it, I’ll report back.

 

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