Maybe, just maybe, I’ve reached a turning point in what, to this point, has been the most tedious literary experience of my life.
The Valley of the Bones, Book 7 of The Dance To The Music Of Time (read my prior posts about each book in the series), was actually not a bad book. In fact, it was somewhat good. I even laughed! Can you believe it?
Throughout my self-declared “Year of the Dance,” I’ve hammered this novel. But, finally, some light.
If you ever read The Bridge Of San Luis Rey, do yourself a favor and also read the novel’s afterword.
I don’t always read afterwords, but when I do, I read The Bridge of San Luis Rey afterword. It’s a fascinating look at the publishing process the novel went through.
I’ll try and sum it up.
My son is two now. Perhaps you remember his reading tips from way back when he was one. Now that he’s two, the real parenting is about to begin.
Before I had kids, it was the practical stuff in the first years that worried me—changing diapers, losing sleep, hurried dinners, etc.
But as my wife and I have adjusted to all of that—a lot of which I realized wasn’t a big deal after all, okay, except for the sleep part—I’ve begun see how the real fun is just getting started.
It’s all the emotional, psychological, hard-core parenting stuff now—knowing when to discipline and when to be patient, not letting my fears become my son’s fears or get in the way of his growth, knowing when to say no and when to say one more time, determining the types of discipline that he responds to best, and stuff like that.
As I’ve been told by more experienced parents, all of this will only get more difficult as he grows older. Now my parental sensors go off when he wanders in the next room without supervision, so what am I going to do when he’s wandering through town in his own car? Oh crap.
That brings me to my question for the day. As a parent, how do you monitor–or do you monitor–what your child reads?
Here’s an onslaught of questions:
I really hated The Sound and The Fury.
And that surprised me. Faulkner’s a southern boy, he’s “my people,” so I really thought I would enjoy that novel.
But I think I would rather eat cold grits and 3-day-old scrambled eggs than read that novel again.
That said, if I ever choose to read The Sound and the Fury again, I have a better option than the traditional versions of the novel.
I’ll do my best to keep today’s post on subject. To me, it makes sense how this relates to the theme of my blog. I hope it does to you too.
As I put together some of my last few posts about The Bridge of San Luis Rey over the weekend, a book that details the lives of people who fall to their deaths in the collapse of a rope bridge in Peru, I was reminded again about the randomness of tragedy.
Just last week, I posted about how this novel experienced a rebirth after September 11, when Tony Blair quoted a passage from the book during a memorial service for the victims of 9/11.
On the heels of the awful events in Aurora, Colorado last week, this novel seems relevant yet again.
In The Bridge, Thornton Wilder reminds us that any one of us could’ve been on that bridge, just like any one of us could have been watching Batman in that Aurora theater.
Wilder, through the main character Brother Juniper, attempts to explain the “why” of tragedy. Why were those 5 people on that bridge? What brought them all together at that moment? Why wasn’t it someone else?
Brother Juniper begins a process of going back through their lives, telling their stories, and trying to make sense of their deaths. It’s no surprise that a question of that magnitude doesn’t bring an answer that will satisfy everyone.
It’s a messy question with a messy answer—actually there is no real answer. I don’t think any human mind can ever understand why crap like this happens.
When I heard that The Bridge of San Luis Rey 2004 film starred Robert Deniro, Kathy Bates, Gabriel Byrne and Harvey Keitel, I immediately added it to my to-watch list. Quite a cast.
The book lends itself to a great story that could be a powerful film. That’s why I was surprised when I saw all the poor reviews.
And it’s not just critics. Regular people like you and me hate it too. Misty, a commenter on this blog, had this to say about it:
You know what I love about reading? You can read anywhere.
You don’t need electricity. You don’t need a DSL line. You don’t need a chair or a blanket or a cup of coffee.
All you need is a book and somewhere firm and steady to place your two feet. As long as you have that, you can read.
That’s why I LOVE the blog I’m posting about today (notice the all caps…that means I really LOVE it).
The Underground New York Public Library Blog is simple–it’s a photo blog, a visual library, of people reading on the New York City subways. How cool is this?
We need something like this in Nashville, although we don’t have a subway, and people sing more than they read.
Anyway, if you don’t love these photos, you don’t like reading. Here’s a few sample images, with permission granted from the Underground New York Public Library.
On Monday, I had the awesome opportunity to guest post over at Book Riot–an outstanding site filled with a crapload of great, funny writers who write about all things books.
Today, I thought I’d share that post with you. It might be one of my most random, weird posts yet…and I’ve had quite a few of those. So here you go.
Marketing blurbs and tag lines for movies and films must be tough to write. Basically, the writer is told, “Here’s a 2 hour film. You have 16 words to summarize it. Go!”
What? But the good copywriters do it well. I’ve been fortunate to work with guys who crank out ad copy and tag lines like politicians spit out clichés. It’s an art, no doubt.
You probably know the famous ones, like “One ring to rule them all” from The Lord of the Rings, or “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water” from Jaws 2.
Today, I thought I’d make my best (read: worst) attempt at imaginary marketing blurbs from famous novels.
At some point in the publishing process of these legendary novels, a group of people sat around a table and decided what would appear on the back copy. These are the blurbs that were left on the conference room floor.
Somewhere within a 100 mile radius of your current location, someone is preparing to perform Our Town at this moment.
That might be a slight overstatement, depending on where you live, but there’s no question that Thornton Wilder’s Our Town is one of the most produced plays in theaters all over the world.
In the foreword to Our Town, Donald Margulies said ”The play’s success across cultural borders around the world attests to its being something much greater than an American play: it is a play that captures the universal experience of being alive.”
Our Town won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1938 after a run on Broadway. With all due respect to The Bridge of San Luis Rey, my current read, it’s Wilder’s most famous work.
As I approach the two-year anniversary of this blog, I’ve slowly built up a smorgasbord of marginally useful information in my head about all of the books I’ve read so far–and just the experience in general. Yes, a smorgasbord.
These thoughts aren’t really worthy enough of an entire post—or, maybe they are and I just don’t realize it yet. Or maybe I’ve already posted about them and just want to say it again. Who knows.
The point is that today’s post is a brain dump. It’s all the random stuff I have floating around in brain about my experience reading the books and writing this blog over the last two years.
Let the brain dump begin: