Monday 9 July 2007

27. Rez Dogs Eat Beans: And Other Tales and 28. Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio

I've been reading Rez Dogs Eat Beans for well over a month now, but it's going so slowly that I didn't want to post it here until I became fairly certain that I'd really finish it. Now that I'm just past the halfway point, I think I can commit to finishing, although it's a pretty disappointing read.

Brook and I inexplicably stumbled across this book in the English section of a bookstore in Brno, Czech Republic in December. Of all the American literature available I truly can't imagine why the buyers at this store chose this one - I'm certain it's never been on any bestseller lists anywhere - Rez Dogs Eat Beans is just a collection of newspaper stories Gordon Johnson wrote over something like a 15-year period for some rag in San Diego!

The first story was quite good but they've been going downhill since (not to mention becoming very repetitive) consistently ever since. However, all the stories are exactly the same length (2.75 pages in some gigantic font), so they're good for reading during TV commercials. I wonder how Johnson would feel about such a dubious compliment.

I just started Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio a couple of days ago and so far I'm really enjoying it. Written over several decades in the mid- to late-17th century, Strange Tales is a collection of short but (so far) very compelling tales of the supernatural and other general weirdness.

Roger bought me this one for Festivus 2006 and it was the first I'd heard of Pu Songling; I'm glad to have remembered it was hiding in one of my bookcases as I'm totally in the mood for the short, pithy story collection. (Thanks, Roger!)

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