Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Book, Interrupted

I'm on page 219 of The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes.

I started reading it while in Portland and read it on the plane ride home to Texas.

I have library books out though, and I've decided I will take a hiatus from The Fatal Shore and continue reading it after I finish the library books.

I finished a short story collection that had also been on Hiatus when we left for Portland.  Dark Roots by Cate Kennedy.  Pretty good book, by the way.   I read another book by Brigid Lowry.   Follow the Blue.    I liked it a little less than Guitar Highway Rose, but still found it worth reading.   The ending was original and creative.   (Yes, I told you before.  I'm horrible at book reviews!)

I seem to have a habit of disliking books that have won prestigious awards.   Wolf on the Fold by Judith Clarke was a strong exception for me.   The format of this book is a mixture of novel and short story.   The short stories are woven together by a family tree.  The first story centers around a young boy during The Great Depression and the subsequent stories center around his future children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.   

My only complaint about the book is a misprint on the family tree.  It lists the initial main character as dying in 1943.  Yet, by reading the novel you can see that this is definitely a mistake.   The family tree though is so helpful.   I wish all novels with multiple generations would include one.  

The funny thing is the next library book I had on my shelf to read was the memoirs of Robert Hughes, the guy who wrote The Fatal Shore.

It feels kind of weird to read the memoirs of a person who wrote the nonfiction book you're in the middle of reading.  It's kind of like when you take a break from reading something and google it to get some background information.   But now I'm taking a break to read a whole damn book on the guy.  

I guess I'm a little nervous about not liking Hughes.  If I end the book with a dislike for him, will I lose interest in reading The Fatal Shore?

The guy IS a bit grumpy, but so far I kind of like him.  He seems fairly honest to me--well at least honest in his anger towards people who have wronged him.   The guy was in a really bad car accident that caused him grief in many ways.   He kind of reminds me of Stephen King with his car accident.

Stephen King seems to have a lot of resentment and anger over the accident--enough to include it in his fiction.  

I can't blame either guy.  I'd probably have a lot of unresolved anger if I was in a horrible car accident.
Hell, I HAVE a lot of unresolved anger without being in a car accident.

I don't yet know (or will I ever know?) if Hughes is a nice guy or not--or whether he's the type of person I'd want as a friend.   I do definitely know that he's a good writer.

He has some great quotes.

One of my favorites so far is this one:

Generally speaking, if an Australian event doesn't involve a monster crocodile, a giant shark ,or Nicole Kidman, it won't go anywhere in America.  KILLER CROC CHOMPS NICOLE: a good Murdochian headline, almost rivaling his New York Post's classic HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR.