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.