After spending my last week and a half reading a really long book that I really didn’t enjoy at all, I decided to put away the long, wonderful epics that I tend to be drawn towards for the time being. It’s hard to find time to fit reading in during the school year, too. After browsing the internet for the best short books and collections of short stories, I took a trip to the Butler stacks and took out a bunch of new reading.
If you must know the book that disappointed me, it’s Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey. Is it well-written? Absolutely. Do I now have a perspective of 19th-century Australia I didn’t have before? Totally. Did I find it satisfactory or worth the two weeks? Unfortunately, no. I’ll have to save The Luminaries for later, when my trust in giving myself over to a 600-page novel is restored.
So what’s next on my shelf? I just finished In Watermelon Sugar, a TOTAL trip by Richard Brautigan. At only 166 pages, Brautigan creates a spare, funky future in which everything is made of watermelon sugar, the sun changes color each day, and the commune is surrounded by piles of discarded material called the Forgotten Works. Anthropomorphic tigers used to roam the land and eat people and sing; they were cruel and beautiful. There are no longer any tigers. I can’t really explain the book by saying it’s just 1960s awesome madness, and you should read it.
So, what’s coming after In Watermelon Sugar?
‘I didn’t go to church because I was a black sheep. There were five children in my family and the males rotated the position of black sheep among us, the oldest one being the black sheep for a while while he was in his DWI period or whatever and then getting grayer as he maybe got a job or was in the service and then finally becoming a white sheep when he got married and had a grandchild. My sister was never a black sheep because she was a girl.’
–From “Chablis” in 40 Stories
It feels good to read!