Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Quickies

Two quick reviews. Then, perhaps, silence -- this is shaping up to be a heavy-hitting week and I probably will not have much.

#25 -- "Blind Willow Sleeping Woman" by Haruki Murakami

and

#26 -- "Navigations" by Ted Kerasote

Two books, both nice, both curiously unsatisfying. I'm much more of a fan of Murakami's novels than his short fiction -- something that probably holds true for most authors, for that matter -- but I was still surprised at how unenthusiastic I was about this.

The pieces are generally kind of light. They seem more like abandoned ideas for novels than self-contained pieces -- it's like trying to fashion a hearty meal out of a selection of hors d'oeuvres. Some were pretty good, but others I forgot as soon as I started the next piece.

Kerasote: Even if I hadn't known he lived in Colorado, I would have pegged this as a Colorado book -- in both good and bad ways. Good in the appreciation for nature, the desire to go against the grain -- bad in the occasional wide-eyed dippy stuff, the hints of third world poverty fetishization that I always found so eye-rolling.

This is a collection of essays on travels through the Western Hemisphere -- at their best, they made me want to scrap anything immediately ("hi, this is Greg -- I won't be in ever again") and follow Kerasote's path. At their worst, there were the aforementioned eye-rolls. In between, sometimes good, sometimes I got lost in overly-technical descriptions of fly-fishing/boating/etc.

Actually, perhaps the most impressive thing this book accomplished: the chapter on the marathon made me think it'd be nice to run one. The odds of that remain low, but even exciting the desire is something to note.

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