felt jilted by one of my purest pleasures, reading. As you read in last week’s DOG EAR, I had just suffered a ham-strung horror of self-published nonsense, a book by a person who didn’t understand classic noir or basic English. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to read anything soon afterwards. Like a jilted lover, I wasn’t ready to start dating again.,
Then I stuck my nose in an old yellowed western and my blood flowed again.
I’ll review City of Widows soon enough. It’s a great book. Why? Because it has characters who were dusty and trashy and archetypical yet not. It had a hero who gets his ass kicked in the street and doesn’t immediately get his vengeance. And the scenes it describes, the burning deserts of the Southwest and the clapboard towns all across it, it was like a virtual simulator for me. Unlike that other book where I battered against the glass of incompetent writing, looking in at a story I couldn’t engage with, here I was in it. And this is classic writing – projecting the reader into a body and situation not his own, making them care, making them laugh, and making them flinch.
After I put down Widows, I picked up another book, a cyberpunk thriller that reminds me of my beloved Snow Crash in tone and tech and tension. In the Western, the hero’s sweat, his fear and wry wit, all those things were mine. In Accelerando, I’m riding Manfred Macx’s shoulder, watching a world as incomprehensible to me as my own would be to cowboy marshal Page Murdock, out of my place and time, out of my body, just loving it.
And just as last week taught me what a bad book can be, this week is lining up books that bring pure joy.
Enough of this. I want to go read some more!