Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Most Recent Read

I have finished two books in the last month by Silas House. He's pretty good. No Cormac McCarthy, but a good storyteller. He writes about women well, a point at which he excels McCarthy. But I thought The Coal Tattoo (I also read Parchment of Leaves) just went on too long, and I got tired of reading about Anneth's sexual acts. House writes a lot about Pentecostalism and the Holy Spirit, but it is divorced from any other Christian doctrinal matter. I think he is trying to equate it with native American spirituality.

When I find I like an author, I read two of them to get more of a flavor. My next try will be Kingsolver. I know, I know, I should have read her by now. But literature is not my primary area, so I am always behind in that regard.

In respect to Appalachian literature, I am going to make a mean observation. Once a regional lit becomes a genre (and thus a college class subject area), the bar gets lowered. It's almost as if the writers in that genre no longer have to compete with the wider world of literature; they can just be in that little group and be studied and accepted within it. So comparisons with writers outside the genre no longer apply, and the writer may not be all that great but is considered "important" within that genre. Case-in-point (cliche alert): Lee Smith. I think she wrote one good novel (Fair and Tender Ladies) and the rest were rehashes.

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