After a readerly binge, I'm slowing down a bit. All those chunksters in a row finally left me feeling glutted, indecisive. Here's what I've read so far since the end of June: The Passage, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, Columbine, The Journal Keeper, Chronic City. Just about every book on that list is over 500 pages; now I've started Rock Island Line, which is a mere 408 pages.
I first read about Rock Island Line in Poets & Writers Magazine, which is the only print magazine to which I subscribe. I always find something new to read in every issue, and the columns and articles about writing are excellent. This article about David Rhodes led me to purchase Rock Island Line the third novel by the University of Iowa MFA graduate. The story behind the novel is intriguing: John Gardner discussed the novel in On Becoming a Novelist, citing the striking use of details like this one: "Della's hands were so small they could be put into small-mouth jars."
The Poets & Writers article describes the motorcycle accident that paralyzed Rhodes, tells how his books eventually went out of print, and though he never stopped writing, Rhodes didn't publish another novel for thirty years. Now Milkweed Press has reissued Rock Island Line, and published Driftless (also on my TBR pile). Another novel is due out from Milkweed.
A girl can't read all the time; evenings I walk the beach, or go down to the dock. The other night I saw a group of otters slide off the bank and begin playing in the water down at the dock. The stifling heat of the day had finally lifted, a cool breeze ruffled the water, and the evening sky painted the ripples. As the evening fell into darkness a boat approached the dock, and I thought there isn't a sight so pretty as a lighted boat coming in to dock as darkness falls.
Glad you've solved your reading restlessness slump. Watching otters is a great thing at the end of the day. Good reading.
Can't wait to hear your thoughts on Chronic City. That book is staring me down, daring me to take it off the shelf.
Thanks for pointing out the P&W profile piece too - I get that magazine, also, but am really far behind on it. I'll have to make sure to check out Rhodes - he sounds very interesting!
your reading crisis seems definitely remedied but after reading the evocative blog, i think maybe you should take up writing as well...
Mmm, that last bit of your post was beautiful.
I agree about not being able to read ALL the time. As much as I love it, I find myself having to take breaks, either because I'm just oddly not in the mood or because I want to make time for other things, so as not to miss them. A walk on the beach or down to the dock sounds just right (though it's also where I'd take a book!). :)
@Page-watching otters is great--I also love dolphins & manatee!
@Greg-I'm gearing up to write my review of Chronic City--a mixed reaction.
@Priya-thanks for your kind words-my secret ambition is to write a novel-I can take notes from you!
@Steph-thanks, my secret novelist self pops out here & there!
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