Thursday, April 20, 2006

Flyfishing is poetical....

While essays and exams continue to limit new book prospects, I am relegated to chatting about oldie but goodies. Today's oldie-but-goodie is A River Runs Through It by Norman MacLean. I cannot in all consciousness, have a blog about books and not include this gem. I first discovered the book (for shame!) after a long obsession with the film. I think I was in grade seven when my dad picked up the film from the rental store. It remains the only movie I can tolerate Brad Pitt in. I cannot describe how moved I was; as much then ( if somewhat differently ) as I am now. There is something poetical in the story itself that supersedes medium; intrinsically woven into the fly-fishing motif, in the sudden eruption of modernism such as cars and speak-easy's, and the relationship between the two competitive and completely opposite brothers: the altruistic and bookish "professor" Norm and his younger, teasing, refreshing and rapscallion brother Paul.
Perhaps it was their life as minister's kids ( something I relate to firsthand ) or the beautiful Montana scenery: painted in sparse prose like a watercolour, or the watching eye of the prim minister and his elegant rural wife.
I loved the story, MacLean's fictionalized autobiographical account is told in an almost W.O. Mitchell-esque manner. Both write a love story not only to "Golden Ages" of yesteryear but to landscapes: broad, beautiful, engulfing: the kind of landscape that would make you want to grab your fishing gear and basket, jump into the torrent tides or kiss a pretty girl with rose-bud lips mid-Charleston.

River makes me homesick for a town I never lived in, reminiscent of an era I never lived in,mindful of an article I never read in the Helena newspaper, and regretful of a life that was never mine. It is quite a sensory, unusual book that can take you home as this one can. To a home you think you know as well as the author. You can smell the trout jumping upstream, feel the creaky bannister in the parsonage, and even touch the new vinyl on an old Ford.

Escape to the Twenties and pick this little treasure up; it is not as hopelessly ambitious as The Great Gatsby. It is a breath of fresh, Montana air.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Eyre moment ....

Last night, upon return to my hometown for a slight sojourn, I opened up the copy of Jane Eyre mainstayed on my night table ( one needs a copy everywhere one goes.... multiple copies at that ). Flipping through my favourite bits, I tried to reconcile myself with my past in an attempt to recall my first impressions of JE. Grade ten: Mrs. Amos' class ( one of my least favourite teachers ever: degraded To Kill a Mockingbird by patronizingly drawling: "It's a charming little story") waiting for the bell to ring and first period to start, sneaking the paperback Penguin my aunt had loaned me under the desk and guiltily reading of Jane's arrival at St.John Rivers' house. Keeping it well tucked as I stood for O Canada, and then, thankful I was near the back, still reading while Mrs. A ( the most unoriginal person and not the most colourful swab of a rainbow), played us a scratchy recording of Romeo and Juliet. Thinking what it must be like to be stranded, cold and hungry on the unfeeling moors.
Last night, reading again, I justified my means for this long imaginative obsession. It's a story about physicality in handsome and plain forms, in mutilated hands and black eyes and hair one only imagines cuts straight and severely down the middle, of head's that are large and animalistic holding the Victorian conception of a massive brain beneath: Jane is ( forgive the tendency to rhyme ad nauseum) "plain", Rochester "hideous, you always were sir", Thornfield a treacherous dark maze, Bertha a wild-haired "other" misplaced and coiled in a dark room that only peeks to the country side. And amidst this physicality rages something far more organic: the need to pair up, to set out, to adventure and love then return to where you started. There's comfort in the cyclical.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Of the bookwormish persuasion

Welcome to my new blog, where I mean to post anything ( and everything ) literary.
My tastes range widely, eclectically and are often strangely varied.

I love young adult fiction and my dream job is to write for that demographic.

My mainstay blog can be found here.

On my nightstand right now:

The Intimate Life of LM Montgomery by Irene Gammel

Scorpia: An Alex Rider Novel by Anthony Horowitz

Hard Times by Charles Dickens

Instead of three Wishes by Megan Whalen Turner

Oh Danny Boy by Rhys Bowen

Villette by Charlotte Bronte

The Holy Bible (KJV)

Conundrums for the Long Weekend: England, Dorothy L. Sayers and Lord Peter Wimsey by Robert Kuhn McGregor

In my bookbag: Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers

A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer

Emily Climbs LM Montgomery