What a depressing book.
When this adventure is over, I might start a kickstarter campaign to raise money for my weekly therapy. ‘Cause, man, I’ve read some depressing books.
It’s not that depressing books are a bad thing. I’ve defended them before. It’s just that, when you read sad book after sad book, it begins to, well, make you long for a Disney movie about puppies or something.
When it comes to sad, Under The Volcano might take the cake, at least in terms of the first 41 books I’ve read on this list. And that’s saying a lot because the list to this point includes books like Never Let Me Go, Rabbit Run, and Revolutionary Road.
I love commas. I really do.
Commas are one of my favorite punctuation marks. Commas allow you to breathe. They help you establish a certain cadence and rhythm as a writer. Unless you are William Faulkner, you’ve probably used a comma or two in your writing.
But can you have too much of a good thing? Can your writing have too many commas?
Oh yes. Yes it can.
Last week, I made a mistake.
My wife and I celebrated our anniversary by going on a Caribbean vacation that we’ve been planning for awhile. Obviously, that wasn’t the mistake.
Despite meticulously planning this trip for more than a year, I completely ignored one of my cardinal rules of beach reading—a subject we have discussed on this blog before.
I ignored the fact that some books simply aren’t beach reading material. Instead of looking for another book on the list, I took my current read, Under The Volcano, with me. And there was my mistake.
Malcolm Lowry, author of Under The Volcano, was the stereotypical great writer–alcoholism, relationship issues, early and unfortunate death.
The coroner called Lowry’s passing a “death by misadventure”–he was thought to have overdosed on a lethal mixture of sleeping pills and alcohol. At 47, he died young, with a brilliant career behind him and a full life still ahead of him.
In 1976, the National Film Board of Canada put together a documentary called Volcano: An Inquiry Into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry. It explores his “death by misadventure” and looks back at his life, with passages from Under The Volcano read by Richard Burton. The film was Oscar nominated, and you can watch the whole thing here.
Oh, but that’s not all!
And onward we go. Book #41 will be Under The Volcano by Malcolm Lowry, another novel that will cause me to jump in the cold water.
The novel tells the story of an alcoholic British consul, Geoffrey Firmin, in a small Mexican town on the Day of the Dead. The entire story takes place in one day’s time.
Some quick facts about Under The Volcano and Malcolm Lowry: