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Search tags: Cormac-McCarthy
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review 2017-06-22 03:36
Review: All the Pretty Horses
All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy

I am not what you would call the average Cormac McCarthy reader. Yes, I may fit the stereotype—white male with a beard in his thirties—but I defy most stereotypes and hope that someday I may be the poster child for “stereotypes be damned.” (It seems out of place to use quotes in a review of a McCarthy book, doesn't it?) Historically, grisly, romanticized westerns do little for me.

Like everyone else, I've read The Road. That was more than a decade ago and I thought, “eh, it's okay.” It was the first McCarthy I'd read and while I was open to the idea of returning to the author, he wasn't on the top of my list. Two weeks ago, I had no plans of returning to McCarthy anytime soon. I have a long list of books I really want to read, and between those and whatever randomly tempts me on the bookshelf, I have no time for outliers. But a strange thing happened: I wasn't in the mood for any of the books on my list. Nothing seemed right. I experienced something rare: I had no idea what I wanted to read. I spent more than an hour trying to decide what was next. I was tempted to just take a day or two away from reading. Then, as though some conscious entity grew tired of my fit, I picked up All the Pretty Horses and started reading. Divine intervention? Subconscious desire? Likely, I just wanted to surprise myself.

And was I surprised. Within an hour, I found that I was enjoying the story. Thoroughly. And for those who know me and my likes, this may be surprising. I'm an open-minded individual and will try things outside of my comfort zone, but there are some things that have burned me so many times that I expect to be displeased. A book that promises to be filled with horses and gunfights is prone to disappoint.All the Pretty Horses exceeded all my baseless expectations. Much of my appreciation was in the way the main characters, John Grady and Lacey Rawlins, converse. What pulled me in was those two, sitting around a fire and talking, riding through desolate terrain and talking. Oddly, I became very wrapped up in their simple conversation. Even though their relationship seemed unbalanced, even though Grady seemed like a contradiction, and even though I hate heat and horses, I was pulled in. And as others were added to the mix, the dynamics changed, but the conversation remained riveting.

Grady was a wonderful character, though I couldn't quite grasp how much faith I was willing to invest in his authenticity. Although I never thought of Grady as old, I had trouble shaping his image as a sixteen year old. He was far too wise and mature. The more I got to know him, the more I was convinced that such a wise teenager could exist. And, as the story developed, I began to see that underneath it all, he may have not been quite as wise as he seemed (though I'm still not sure). Multi-dimensional character: you've hooked me.

Ironically, it was only when the book picked up speed, reaching its climax, that my interest waned some. An old-fashioned shootout and the getaway on a horse: I find that a bit boring. Overall, this was such a small part of the novel that I wasn't too distracted by it.

Who'd have thought that cowboys sitting around talking would've been such a draw? Divine intervention? I'm a weird one, I guess. Now I'm actually excited to read the next book in the series.

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url 2017-06-01 20:52
Slate: Dark Futures
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel
Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace
A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan
The Book of Joan: A Novel - Lidia Yuknavitch
American War - Omar El Akkad

Slate asks, "What happens when literary novelists experiment with science fiction."

 

I answer, "Lots of wonderful things."

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review 2017-05-15 15:01
Just Needed Edited a Bit
No Country for Old Men - Cormac McCarthy

This book takes place in Texas in the 1980s. I don't know how many people saw the movie, but the book adds a lot more depth to the characters that I really enjoyed. That said, I thought that it got a bit too long though. Once we get past a certain point in the book it just felt like things were being too dragged out. The book is divided between following Llewellyn Moss (Moss) who comes across a dying man and some dead men. When he inspects the truck he finds heroin and two million dollars in cash. This leads to many different players trying to track Moss down. Some are good (Sheriff Bell) and some are bad (Anton Chigurh and Carson Wells). 

 

Even though I already knew how the book was going to end, I kept hoping for a different ending. Moss came to life for me, but I really wanted to tell him that he was being an idiot throughout the book. The entire book really is a case study in McCarthy showing how Texas in the 1980s had changed so drastically from what it used to be before. 

 

The character of Sheriff Bell was the one I had the most pity for though while reading. He really is trying to stop what is coming for Moss and his wife. At one point in the book, we had I think 12 people dead and even more bodies coming. 

 

The main reason why I didn't give it five stars though was that it just felt overly long. After a certain point the book started to drag and I honestly didn't think there was much more story to tell. The book also jumped back and forth a few times with Bell narrating something that had happened, but we as readers then had to go and read about it after he had already foreshadowed or just flat out told us. So that to me left things a bit off. 

 

The writing also at times just got a bit confusing. McCarthy seems to loathe writing who was saying what. So a few times I had to go back from the beginning of paragraph to even figure out who was speaking at certain times. Also, and this once again was just a few times, the dialogue just didn't feel realistic. At other times it did, you can feel people's terror talking to Anton, but sometimes I thought that McCarthy was just trying too hard. 

 

The ending leaves us with Bell contemplating another future for himself once he starts to realize that things have changed so much that he may not have the stomach to be a lawman anymore. 

 

 

Bank:
April 15: $20
April 17: $23. I read "The Wangs Vs the World", electronic pages 368.
April 24: $28. I read "Dream Wedding", electronic pages 512.
April 25: $28. Landed on BL and had to post a vacation photo or tell a story about a vacation.
April 29: $31. Read "Whitethorn Woods", 354 pages Kindle edition, $3.00
April 29: $34. Read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", 256 pages;$3.00.
May 4:   $37. Read "The Ghost Brigades" Paperback, 346 pages; $3.00
May 8:   $42. Read "American Gods" Hardcover, 465 pages; $5.00.
May 8:   $45. Read "Moon Called" 298 pages Kindle edition; $3.00.

May 13: $50. Read "Solitude Creek" 434 pages electronic; $5.00. 

May 14: $53. Read "No Country for Old Men" 320 pages Kindle edition; $3.00

 

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review 2017-01-12 00:00
The Road
The Road - Cormac McCarthy 4.5 stars

If you find yourself being to happy and upbeat and need to tone it down, read this book. It's end of the world survival. The main characters are a man and his very young son. Some of the scenes are devastating and heartbreaking. It's very well-written. I had loads of feels. I hung on every word. It slayed me.
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review 2016-12-16 05:06
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Road - Cormac McCarthy

The Book:

The book was worded so that it felt as if you were standing there a silent witness to the whole journey. A witness that had no influence but a feeling of helplessness wishing and wanting to provide something, anything for them. It was beautifully written, the words were perfected so that your senses interpreted them: sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste (I swear I tasted those peaches).

 

Impressions & Recommendation:

I think this book hit me harder than most, but I don't think "hard" was the exact type of hit. It was more like a deep, cold and slow slice. The ones that are numb and tingly and then get this throbbing ache. I saw reflections of my father and younger brother that made me wish my flight home was sooner than 4 days away.

 

I chose to read this for a several reasons: 1) it makes everyone's reading list and is award winning; 2) My 2008 AP Composition teacher (Mr. Streeby) loved this author and made us read his other books; and 3) I tend to enjoy dystopian novels. (Favorite: The Postman).

 

I'll be honest: I like happily ever afters. Here you get an open-ended after with no happiness in general- maybe some relief, but really a whole lot of unhappiness. I probably won't reread it, but I will remember the imagery in my day to day life. 

 

Yet, I am still glad I read it and recommend it to others. Its an easy read, but heavy. Just maybe not during the joy of the holiday season (whichever holiday you may choose). 

 

The 10-Point-Scale:

Total Score- 8.0

  • World Development- .75
  • Story/Plot- .75
  • Character Development- 1
  • Writing Style/Construction- 1 (beautifully composed in short segments)
  • Difficulty of Text- .75 (a richness to the word selection)
  • Length- .75
  • Format- 1 (Paperback)
  • Community Interaction- .75 (misleading; well awarded; movie below)
  • Emotional Reaction- .5 (I did not enjoy my feels)
  • Intellectual Reaction- .75

 

Movie Comments:

I have not and have no intentions of watching the movie because of the way I felt after the book. First, I am not sure they can render the feeling I had as a reader into a viewer and do it justice. Yet in a kind of opposite way, my second reason is that I don't want to watch it because I don't want to feel anywhere close to that again. I am trying to balance my wish for it to remain true to the book and my unhappiness in how the book made me feel.

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