Holy shit you’re still doing these?

Well, TBD. There are far more books listed here than I’ve reviewed, but a lot of them I’d already read. A lot of them I’m not going to read. Generally if it got endorsed by more than one person, I was willing to give it a swing. If it sounded interesting I’d give it a swing. And if it was an audiobook, I’d give it a swing.

476 days, fucker.

Right. So rezzeJ, as part of #hubskiliterarything, sent me a copy of this book.

This is how long it takes me to read paper.

It’s available, by the way. Will totally fit into a USPS flat rate box.

No, no. You read Alibek’s Biohazard way quicker than that. It was on paper…

One, I didn’t finish it yet. Two, it was on Kindle. Three, I was stuck in an unheated shithole next to a mountain for five weeks.

But the fact remains, you’d rather read a book about biological warfare at the sunset of the Soviet Union than a New York Times bestseller.

Fuckin’ Twilight was a NYT bestseller.

Let the slagging begin. Don’t you have a quippy meme to show us?


Look -

thenewgreen loves this book. mk loves this book. briandmyers loves this book. I did not hate this book. But if you take this book:

and this book:

and slam them together you’ll pretty much have Owen Meany. Except…

Do go on alienating your friends.

thaaaaat’s it.

Look - it’s not a bad book. It’s not a great book. It’s also not a short book and it’s also not a linear book. This allows Irving to hide a Rube Goldbergian miracle at the heart of some fundamentally saccharine observations about the ‘60s and ‘80s.

There are two narratives, one of a past that has been fled and one of a present that is scarcely inhabited. As the book drags on, these two narratives converge at a fundamentally disappointing inflection point.

    ”I fucking hate the message, but I love the book.” - mk

It’s possible that had I read it earlier, I might have liked it better. As it is, though, it borrows its narrative structure from Stephen King’s It (published 3 years earlier) and its sappy down-home grittiness from Best Christmas Pageant Ever (published 18 years earlier) and then makes its central character speak in all-caps italics. The fact that the access character is a pusillanimous loser helps absolutely nothing; the fundamental conceit is that Owen Meany is miraculous but this requires you to ignore the fact that every other character is a static cipher with zero development, listless motives and an utter and total lack of personal advancement.

Shawshank Redemption was a short story. I haven’t read it, but the shape and size of it is visible from the movie: there are just enough events to hang a lot of cinematography and acting on, and not too much pointless tedium to get in the way. A Prayer for Owen Meany would probably have been an interesting and engaging short story. Instead it’s 636 pages long.

”So extraordinary, so original, and so enriching…” - Stephen King, Washington Post

Right. But Stephen King loved the fuck out of The Passage too:

    "Every so often a novel-reader's novel comes along: an enthralling, entertaining story wedded to simple, supple prose, both informed by tremendous imagination. Summer is the perfect time for such books, and this year readers can enjoy the gift of Justin Cronin’s The Passage. Read fifteen pages and you will find yourself captivated; read thirty and you will find yourself taken prisoner and reading late into the night. It has the vividness that only epic works of fantasy and imagination can achieve. What else can I say? This: read this book and the ordinary world disappears.”

Probably in no small part because it’s a paint-by-numbers homage to The Stand.

I’m not going to second-guess Stephen King’s motivations. I will second-guess his judgement.

Probably a good thing you’ve run out of your friends’ recommendations to slag.

Don’t get me wrong - I’ve enjoyed every step of the way, even down to my failure to penetrate more than a quarter inch into Godel Escher Bach. I’ve known for a decade or more that my tastes are outside the mainstream - I would not have started a tag like #kleinbl00batshittery if I thought I were normal (really ought to finish that “Avengers of Tonopah” thing). The stuff I’ve had literary success with is the stuff I write for an audience other than myself… this does not mean I do not value the input of others, nor that I do not respect their choices.

But you’re still going to slag on everyone’s favorite books.

See, I didn’t say “favorite books.” I said “great books.” I love the shit out of Neuromancer but I would not recommend it to someone who didn’t want to read some gritty-ass cyberpunk. Deep Black is an intensely fascinating tome… IF you have an undying interest in the intelligence capabilities of the NRO in the mid ‘80s (big “if”). So on the one hand, I’m loath to do this schtick with the books I find interesting. But on the other hand…

Do you have any idea how disingenuous it is to ask permission to blog?

Yep. yep I do. So instead I’ll just say I’m currently slogging through this quagmire and despite the fact that I have effectively 9 uninterrupted hours a week (and I listen at 1.5x) I do not think anyone here will give a fuck what I think of this book and I do not think I will give a fuck enough to subject y’all to my opinion. So even if dozens of people are DYING to hear what I think of a book they’d otherwise never read, I’m still not going to tell you for quite some time. You’re welcome.



the list

the collection


As always, an enjoyable review - thanks.

I keep seeing references to 'IT' (admittedly, at least a couple from KB). It's been on my list for a while now, and probably the only King blockbuster I haven't read. I think I'll pick that up, when I finish what

I'm on now ("The Count of Monte Cristo" - one chapter in, and captivated).

Recently finished 'Blindsight' by Watts, which I believe was reviewed on hubski. Interesting ideas were explored, but the writing and the story didn't do it for me.

Also recent : "The Stranger" by Camus. Maybe I just didn't 'get it' but I was underwhelmed. At least it was short.

"Catcher in the Rye" by Salinger. Rubbish. At least it was short.

posted 1319 days ago