Monday, January 17, 2011

Some books I've read 2

Carol Sklenicka's biography of Raymond Carver

It's an interesting read, especially about the years lost to alcoholism (but which gave him a lot of material for his short stories) and his relationship with his editor, Gordon Lish, who took out half the text in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, and then refused to discuss changing it back.

Beginners by Raymond Carver

This is the original, unedited text. It's good to have, to be able to compare the two versions. It's far from minimalistic, a term that was often given him. I should probably re-read WWTAWWTAL before saying anything, but I think A Small, Good Thing, one of his most famous stories, is wastly better in the longer, original version. The Lish version is really butchered. But, possibly, Tell The Women We're Going and One More Thing, I might actually prefer the Lish versions. He gave those two stories final punchlines, and for Tell The Women it's maybe better to imagine what really happened than being told.

Sunset Park by Paul Auster

After some disappointing books I think this book and the previous one, Invisible, have been much better.

My Hitch in Hell by Lester I. Tenney

A memoir about surviving the Bataan Death March and three and a half years in Japanese prison camps.

Currently reading: I Was Looking for a Street by Charles Willeford

And on my bedside table, waiting to be read: Jack Kerouac, Selected Letters 1940 - 1956, Selected Letters 1957 - 1969 and A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore.

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