A Respite from Poetry

How is everyone? Enjoying all the poetry? Well, that’s good to know. Don’t worry about the book reviews, I thought I’d take some time out from the day to day poeticals to cover some of the books I’ve been reading. I’ll probably end up spoiling some of these by the way.

Well here’s a surprise, one month and two little masterpieces show up, both American Vampire Vol 1 and Heart Shaped Box come with a little bit of Stephen King connection, which is always going to soften me towards reading them (the former has a storyline written by him, the latter is written by his son), but both turned out to be very good in their own rights. Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill tells the story of an aging rock star in the Ozzy Ozbourne mould who purchases a ghost on eBay. When said ghost turns out to be the vengeful spirit of his ex girlfriends step-father he has to try and get rid of it before suffering the dire consequences. It’s a clever plot, helped largely by the rather officious nature of the lead, he’s not the nicest of people and his redemption throughout the story is one of the better handled character transformations in mainstream horror. What sets this book apart from other horror as well, it scared me. Actually got to me with its descriptions of the dead and their eyes, scrawled over with black marker.

American Vampire Vol 1 collects the first five issues of this series about Skinner Sweet, the titular vampire who has a few rather unique (and very American) attributes in his vampiric arsenal. This is no Twilight or Buffy. The vampires in this book are monsters, through and through and the author Scott Snyder pulls out all the stops to tell a rather brilliant story that sets up what is surely going to be a huge hit for Vertigo comics.

From horror to religious fantatiscm, Big Machine by Victor Lavalle is an insane dream-like fantasy novel. It tells the story of Ricky Rice, a junkie who gets recruited into the leagues of the Washburn Library, a secret society made up of mental patients, hookers and drug addicts, who’s sole aim is to find the ‘voice of God’. Big concepts are abound in this book, and ideas are thrown at you on every page. Some of them even stick (check out the extended flashback about the main character’s childhood) and will keep you thinking beyond the length of the book. However, some of the major story is lost in a misguided attempt to be ambiguous and reads a little like sub-par Murikami. Worth a read, but just.

My pick of the month goes to, Rabbit, Run by John Updike. This classic novel tells the story of Harry ‘Rabbit’ Amgstrom who goes through a bit of a Don Draper moment and leaves home determined to start his life again. The writing here is perfect, poetic and just plain incredible. The story is a deft little tale, not much actually happens but with good reason. It tells you everything about America in the fifties and does it by only telling you a very small story.

So that’s your lot for the moment, I’ll be back with more poetry tomorrow and soon there will be reviews for The Corrections, More Trees to Climb and more!

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