What I’ve been reading

Although my reading time has been limited since I’ve been working a full-time consulting job, I have managed to complete several excellent books. Here’s my list since April. Rabbit Remembered by John Updike – A novella that Updike wrote in 2000, several years after he finished the Rabbit quartet. It’s about the interjection of Annabelle, the illegitimate daughter to the now deceased Harry Angstrom, into the life of his middle-aged son Nelson, now separated from his wife Pru. Other key characters from the Rabbit series appear: Janice, Harry's widow, who has married Harry's old nemesis Ronnie Harrison; Judy, Harry's granddaughter, now nineteen, who plans to become an air hostess; and his fourteen-year-old grandson Roy, with whom Nelson communicates via email. It certainly was very satisfying to read how these characters turned out and to learn Rabbit did indeed father a daughter, which he suspected all along. This was a page-turner for me as were the four other Rabbit books. Man’s S … [Read more...]

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Revisiting John Updike

It’s a given that reading is just as important as writing or maybe even more so. I’m always reading something. In the last month I read the first two novels that John Updike wrote about Rabbit Angstrom (Rabbit, Run and Rabbit Redux). My intent is to read some well-known and well-regarded books written by people of my generation. Philip Roth is on my list as well. I have no doubt I can learn a thing or two about novel-writing from these books. I won’t get into a discussion of plot and characters here. I am more interested in Updike’s writing style. The books are long. I bought old paperback editions and the typeface is so tiny I could barely get through five to ten pages at a sitting. Recently new novelists have been told to vary the length of their chapters and sentences and paragraphs and use a lot a dialogue instead of long narratives. Updike consistently breaks those rules. The two books I read had long, long chapters, paragraphs and sentences and little dialogue. Howeve … [Read more...]

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