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Reading With Sea

A book club on your own time

Ok, not literally.

I am talking about books that are realistic.  Authors that do actual research.  These types of  expenditures that issue in a higher level of connectivity and thus heightened reading enjoyment.  Otherwise, I feel authors attempting to cozen me with words.  I dislike this feeling of deceit.

Let me digress.  To state simply, some authors do research prior to writing their books that is intended to illustrate realistic descriptions of personality types and the lay of the land in any particular region they are writing about or culture they are describing.  Other authors write in ways that show their lack of research or their utter misunderstanding/inability to translate.

The last book I read, The Here And Now by Robert Cohen, took place mostly in New York City with brief jaunts to Houston, Texas and upstate New York, Woodstock to be correct.  I could tell by reading this book that the author had actually been to these places and his descriptions fit like a glove.

In the novel I am now reading, American Rust, by Philipp Meyer, I get a sense that the author attempted to research rural Pennsylvania, but the script he writes for his characters are so damn stereotypical that I feel assaulted and I’m not even from this area of the country.  Just to clarify, I didn’t say insulted, I said assaulting, and I meant it.  I feel battered by the injustice and lack of attention he pays these characters.

I need to confess that I am only to page 100 of 300 something so perhaps the characters all of a sudden open up and break free from the constraints of this author’s imagination later in the book, but, how could that be?  I mean really?  That is an impossible scenario – to break free from the author’s immagination.  Everyone knows a character cannot be two things:

1. Smarter than the author.
2. More imaginative than the author.

The story is not uninteresting, but the characters show such a striking lack of depth.  I find it arduous to read, but I still want to know where the plot is going.

The structure of the book, however, seems to be set up in a format specifically to institute an opportunity for the reader to bond and understand the unique thinking of each character.  Each chapter is named by the character that the narrator pays attention to.  The narrator does not change, but instead sort of visits the minds of the characters, bouncing back and forth between their heads.  I can see, clearly, what the author was attempting to do and I applaud the imagination he showed when glueing together the structure or the bones, but the meat is bland.

In any case, this is me today, continuing on reading American Rust and here are a couple of quotes that I have pulled from this read to keep in my reading journal:

“It was a reasonable thing to ask – a life with a little bit of dignity.  She didn’t take up much space otherwise.”

“This is what it means to get old, you don’t look forward to pleasure so much as easing pain.”



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