It's a good book, but it's not my Typee...

Friday, May 31, 2013

Kipling's plagiarism

Oh, Kippy. Apparently Rudyard Kipling had no problem telling people that he borrowed material quite liberally from other authors and was so blasé about it that he couldn't even remember where he did his pilfering. In a letter he wrote in 1895, Kipling owns up to using someone else's work in The Jungle Book. Hard to be upset at him considering what he created with said material.

And now, a joke:
"Do you like Kipling?"
"I don't know, I've never Kippled."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Corrections

Jonathan Franzen is a disturbingly realistic writer. He describes things in ways you instantly recognize, but have never thought to put into words. It took me at least 3 years of on and off reading to finish The Corrections. Each page is dense with some of the best writing you'll find today.

The scenery, the relationships, and the situations are so lifelike you will recognize most of them in your own life, or at least feel like you should. Unfortunately, the reader is rewarded for absorbing all this material with a rather lackluster ending. It's not one of those conclusions that makes you want to crawl out of your own skin because the truths are so darn universal and humans are so selfish, etc. (which is pretty much what I was expecting). Instead, the book wraps up happily for nearly everyone. It turns out there wasn't much holding the family back from fulfillment and contentment. Guilt is lifted, tides are turned, and even though I really don't like the icky endings books like this often have, I was a little let down that this one was so pleasant. Many of the characters deserved the miserable lives they'd built for themselves.

But don't let that stop you from reading The Corrections. A few pages of sunshine at the end don't overshadow the deliciously realistic prose in the rest of the book.