Friday, December 31, 2010

2011: Reading Life and the Goon Squad

Time is the Goon Squad and you can't escape. It's inexorable movement forward is captured by Jennifer Egan with excellent writing, humor, and a variety of styles including a Power Point chapter presentation. Each chapter's little stories ultimately link characters, places, and life itself. The main backdrop is the music industry, and in it Bennie Salazar fights to remain valid. Sasha, his young assistant, journeys through the book stealing possessions and our hearts. From New York to San Francisco, Naples, and Africa, characters interlock, live, love, and manage to survive. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan enthralled me.

From The Great Santini to Prince of Tides to Beach Music, Pat Conroy's lyrical prose with a southern lilt made me a fan. Now with My Reading Life, he shares his love of books, reading, libraries, and words. Whether it's Gone With the Wind or Charles Dickens, Conroy's passion for books and his enthusiasm for other writers is infectious. His anecdotes are humorous and touching, as his skill as a writer kept me turning the pages. I received this book as a Christmas gift, and cherish it as such.
P.127 "I selected all my books for the possibility of some flare of candles along the road toward illumination or enchantment."
P.140 in regards to a beloved bookstore (now sadly closed): "It was once a home of thirty thousand books, a village of lost souls who once held citizenship in a princely city of ideas where the bright glimmer of the English language formed a great wall before the assembled forces of chaos."
p. 304 "Good writing is the hardest form of thinking. It involves the agony of turning profoundly difficult thoughts into lucid forms, then forcing them into the tight-fitting uniform of language, making them visible and clear."
Pat Conroy's thinking appears effortless on the page.
Begin 2011 with these two book recommendations and you are on the road to discovery. Time is the goon squad. Use it wisely.

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