Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hits and Novels

Hits to this blog went through the roof yesterday. The reason? Well, a link from Books Inq to my article on poem endings gave a significant increase. But even that was dwarfed by the number of hits coming from Ron Silliman, who linked to the same article – about three-quarters of the way down a vast column of links in his Monday 18th post. I can’t imagine how many hits I would have had if it had been near the top. Considering Ron Silliman writes an uncompromising poetry blog, the number of readers he gets is amazing, about as many in one hour as I normally get in a month, I suspect. But yesterday was a new record for me…

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I often find it hard to concentrate on poetry in late evening, especially if I’ve had a lot of work to do during the day, but there’s hardly ever anything on TV (and I’m not much interested in the Olympics), so I decided I’d start reading novels again. I must admit – I’ve enjoyed it. If the novel doesn’t grab me in the first ten pages, I ditch it. I don’t have the time or patience to see if it gets better. But I’ve enjoyed Marina Lewycka’s Two Caravans, Kapka Kassabova’s Street Without a Name (a prose memoir, non-fiction), Salem Falls by Jodi Picault (yes, I know, very Richard and Judy, but an entertaining page-turner nonetheless), Exit Ghost by Philip Roth, The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland, and - so far – Falling Man by Don DeLillo. One thing is for sure – fiction is so much easier than poetry. I’d forgotten how simple it was – simple to read, that is, not at all easy to write (well).

5 comments:

Collin said...

Falling Man was one of my favorite novels of the last year. DeLillo at his best.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

I strongly recommend you "The Alchemist's Daughter" by Catherine MacMahon.
I constantly need an engaging novel ( I need it more than poems) for a part of my afternoon and it's not easy to always find one.
I have been lucky recently with many, in particular Joyce Carol Oates's.
Best wishes, Davide

Frances said...

I agree novels are so much simpler to read. Suddenly to encounter complete sentences that mean precisely what they say. Very relaxing.

Rob said...

I'm enjoying Falling Man so far, Collin. Haven't had a chance to read much in the past few days.

Thanks for the recommendations, Davide. I tend to get novels from my local library (I buy poetry, as it's can be worth re-reading) and I'll take a look for The Alchemist's Daughter.

Frances, that's a good part of it!

BarbaraS said...

Novels - how I look upon them with equal parts envy and enjoyment. Does this mean that you're thinking of prose at all? I've been trying my hand at short stories recently. It's such a lovely form to use.
You should try Claire Keegan's 'Walk the Blue Fields.' Very well written and she's getting comparisons with John McGahern, whose work I do admire too. 'Amongst Women,' is a very quick read and has that lovely heart-twang of what could have been that you find in a lot of Irish writing.