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Previewing The Next 5 Books

So, oh yeah, would you guys care to know what the next few books are?

With the week off and all the holidays, I totally forgot to give you a heads up on what’s coming, just in case you want to read along with me.

As you already know, I’m of course reading American Pastoral, book 34, as well as A Question of Upbringing–the first book in A Dance To The Music Of Time.

Other than those two, here are the next four on the list, not necessarily in the order in which I’ll read them:

Dog Soldiers: Robert Stone’s novel about a heroine deal gone bad. Sounds like another real pick-me-up.

Death Comes for the Archbishop: I don’t know much about this novel, other than it’s one of the older ones on the list, published in 1927, written by Willa Cather, and deals with Catholicism.

Native Son: Richard Wright’s powerful novel about a 20-year-old African-American boy who lives in a Chicago ghetto in the 1930s. From my understanding of the novel, Wright tries to shed light on why some impoverished people are motivated to commit crimes.

The Power and the Glory: Unbeknownst to me, I selected two novels with a Catholic priests as protagonists. This is the other one. The title is an allusion to the doxology at the end of The Lord’s Prayer. Apparently, I also purchased some kind of old-school edition of this novel–hardback, all black, with white lettering for the novel. The design budget must have been low.

So have you read any of these novels? Any preliminary thoughts?

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11 Comments Post a comment
  1. I am reading Archbishop (with my book club) right now and loving it. It is quiet and serene with lots of wild west history – including Kit Carson. Takes place in Santa Fe where i spent a year.

    I tried to get through Native Son a month ago and it is an interesting one, but it brought up very strong memories of my having been assaulted (nose broken) and robbed while I lived in Detroit 25 years ago. I put it down. I’ll probably read the last few pages and call it good. It’s an intense book.

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    January 5, 2012
    • Good to know. Might go with Archbishop next. Not sure yet. Haven’t read a western since Blood Meridian.

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      January 5, 2012
  2. My thoughts:

    Dog Soldiers is better than most stories of its ilk (Clive Custler?) but is still a macho adventure story of Vietnam, drugs, guns, etc. It was made into a movie called Who’ll Stop the Rain with Nick Nolte and Tuesday Weld.

    Native Son is stronger for its subject matter and its narrative than it is for its literary value. An interesting discussion might be the dichotomy between the value of the story and the value of the writing.

    Death Comes to the Archbishop is classic American literature from an author with deep roots in the American psyche. Short but well worth reading.

    The Power and the Glory is a strong, moving novel of the Mexican persecution of the Catholic Church. It’s good to be familiar with the author but the novel stands on its own. Easily the best of the four.

    And a final note on old school editions: be careful that you do not have a heavy bowdlerized edition that has removed or modified the salty parts to keep the kiddies innocent.

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    January 5, 2012
    • Good thoughts. Thanks, Mike. I don’t know a lot about this set of novels, but it sounds like a pretty good bunch.

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      January 5, 2012
  3. You should seriously try Harvard with me when you’re through with these…

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    January 5, 2012
    • Maybe. Have no idea what’s next, or if I’ll just take some time off from blogging. Guess I have a couple of years to figure it out.

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      January 5, 2012
  4. Question of Upbringing was a pretty entertaining schoolboy lark. Death Comes for the Archbishop was a beautiful fable of the West.

    With apologies to Mike, though, Dog Soldiers was a massively overhyped bore, outshined by superior crime writers like Donald Westlake and James Ellroy. Maybe it would have resonated with me more if I was an American? For some reason the whole Vietnam thing doesn’t entice me at all.

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    January 5, 2012
    • Interesting. Dog Soldiers seemed like it might be action-packed just because of the whole drug theme.

      Glad to Question of Upbringing it’s good. The Dance series REALLY needs to be good if I’m spending all year on it.

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      January 5, 2012
  5. Death Comes for the Archbishop is a revelation to me. Never mind that it’s about a Catholic priest looking over his assigned archdiocese in New Mexico, and really, there is nothing going on in it.

    But the writing is so beautiful! There’s a sense of peace and quiet in it, reminiscent of Marilynne Robinson’s writing in Gilead (which also deals with a lot of theology). It makes me want to read more of Cather’s novels.

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    January 5, 2012
  6. Patti #

    These are all new to me – should be interesting!

    Like

    January 10, 2012

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