Friday 19 September 2008

Promises broken and an apology to myself

I know, I know, I indicated that I was going to begin reading longer books, and here I've gone and read a book that was just under 200 pages! But right now, my choices are being seriously circumscribed by our 3 most important (because filled with potentially great novels and the like) bookshelves having been moved away from the wall and emptied so that I can paint the dining room.

Anyway, I'm now going to rescind my apology for reading another short tome because what I read was Nicola Barker's Five Miles From Outer Hope and it was totally kick-ass. You may have noticed that I didn't read and blog on this one within 2 days of beginning it. Dear reader, I did something I've gotten out of the habit of doing since I started graduate school: I very slowly (for me) savoured it instead of gobbling it up like I'm starved for books after not having seen even one in 7 years of exile in a desolate, book-free gulag or something.

Barker's writing is so good I want to invoke clich├ęs to talk about it, like "The writing crackles," "The prose is explosive," and "Barker raises the bar for quality contemporary fiction." Dammit, all these things are true and I don't have the vocabulary or patience to try to find news ways of saying them that don't sound like they were designed to go on the back of the book under the shitty back cover copy.

The plot in Five Miles From Outer Hope is, in comparison to the complex web of metaphysical and fantastical craziness Barker created in Darkmans, almost non-existent. But her writing is so good that I frankly wouldn't care if there was no plot at all, if indeed there were negative plot (not sure how that would manifest exactly, but you get my point). This one is not story-free, but has a very simple plot beautifully and hilariously executed so if I were given to rating books on this blog I'd give it a 5/5. I don't rate books here that way, however, so you can forget the previous sentence. You are allowed to remember, however, that I will read another Barker novel as soon as I get my hands on one.

And now for something completely different: Last night, hubby and I went to Indigo because he got one of their gift cards for his birthday. I saw a nice and affordable copy of the second of Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael mysteries, One Corpse Too Many, and it took every molecule of will power I had not to buy it. It hurt me not to buy it. Indeed, I think I owe myself an apology for unduly depriving myself this way. Le sigh.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should buy yourself the book as a reward for showing such epic self-restraint?

Bookphilia said...

I thought I'd bask in the moral victory over my own book addiction this represents for awhile first. Then I'll buy it.

Anonymous said...

It is really difficult to slow down when reading good books, isn't it? I just did the same with The Ivy Tree, taking several days to read a book that is just a couple hundred pages long. Sometimes it's good to savor!

I congratulate you on your willpower even though I failed to do the same when I paid a trip to the bookstore last night.

Bookphilia said...

It really *is* difficult but I'm managing to do it with my latest novel too (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao). It's a lot of work not to just storm through though!