Monthly Archives: January 2013

American Gods by Neil Gaiman, 10th Anniversary Edition, Enhanced Edition

I finished reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman.  The first book I’ve read by this author.  For me, it was an epic read.  I never thought the book would end and even after it ended, there was an interview with the author, a reading group discussion guide, and words by the author.  The first 1/3rd of the book I was leaning toward not finishing it…but a little further and I was beginning to “get it” and it had me pondering and wondering and questioning about our society and how it is structured and what drives it.  What does it mean for a country to call itself a melting pot and what happens to the cultures, beliefs, ways of life to those who melt?  It was a very visual read that created a world that engulfed me in the last half of the book.  The movie, The Book of Eli, is a good companion to this read although they are two separate worlds but the theme of faith and belief strike through both of them.

The main character, Shadow, is an ex-con recently released from prison.  His wife has died, and on the way to the funeral (which has its obstacles) a man called Mr. Wednesday keeps turning up with a lucrative job offer to be his driver and whatever else he needs…okay well enough you say.  The creepy man who keeps turning sets the story up as sci-fi but then in a following chapter, a prostitute engaged in the act with her john swallows him up with her vagina…at this point, I’m thinking bizarre and wondering what the point is of this…

Mr. Wednesday is proving to be a sleezy man and Shadow has a conversation with his dead wife who is appears in his hotel room.  Shadow is taking everything in stride although the occurrences are unexpected and new to him.  I’m still not feeling this is worth a read as I’m annoyed with Shadow but I continue on…

It is not until the gods begin to reveal themselves and the stories of how they came to be American that I get an “aha” feeling and am wanting to know more of them and wondering what will be Shadow’s revelation for this journey he is taking as a result of being employed by Mr. Wednesday.

The last half of the book had me enthralled but I still had the feelilng that the book would never end!   

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Appalachian Elegy, by bell hooks

There are 66 poems and an opening essay. The poems are titled by sequential numbers and indexed by their first lines. the poems read as one long poem transitioning through observation, mediation, incantation, and lament on the environment and history of the land, covering wild life, natural occurrences,  warfare, mountain top removal. The poems are very concise and brief and flow well from one poem to the next. Also, with this publication, my first read of Hooks’ poetry, she has added to the growing tome of Afri-lachian art and literature and African writers who write about the  environment.

Although I re-read this volume several times, I could never get inside these poems.  There was never a poem or even a phrase that struck my spirit and repeatedly felt like I was observing the ideas and even the poems themselves as if I was walking through a museum ..observe but not touching.  I didn’t like that feeling and kept trying to re-enter.  Hooks’ books, (i.e. essays, memoirs) have always caused a shift, a questioning of assumptions so I was disappointed that my autographed copy didn’t resonate.

 

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