Friday, March 16, 2012

walk with one foot in front of the other

Laying out an entire book is hard. Reading entire books is much easier, which is why I have a couple to blog about today while InDesign lurks behind my browser window, laughing at me and my human frailty.

I finished Cat's Cradle a couple of days ago, which I'd meant to do when I originally bought it for a Banned Book Week reading. I can't say I liked it as much as Breakfast of Champions, but it was really good. It's one of those books that is driven by the plot and the concepts thereof, but none of the characters feel like disposable stock. I'm also a fan of the amused-yet-despairing tone Vonnegut uses throughout the book. It reminds me of Rodney Dangerfield's struggle with his own darkness, only more sophisticated.

I will say, though, that novelists like Vonnegut bother me sometimes because they make novel-writing look so easy and it really isn't. Not at all.

I'd also like to mention my friend Tracey Vaccarella's book of poems, Chasing the Moon. Tracey graduated from my program last year, and went to undergrad at Virginia Tech. Her book is a reaction to/way of processing the 2007 shootings, which lends every poem a certain weight right off the bat. But her collection isn't bleak or maudlin in tone - rather, it sustains the voice of someone trying really hard to figure something out. 

What's important, though, is that Tracey's book is full of really good poems with lines like "if my troubles are going to find me/then I will be ready/in thick rubber galoshes" and "how fortunate/to always be held/and admired." I'm really glad I snagged a copy when I did, and while I'm a little embarrassed that it took me this long to finish the whole thing, I'm also glad I took my time with it.