August 1, 2012

Book Club: Faulkner and Wikipedia

There are many different methods I use when picking books to read. I started reading Cormac McCarthy after watching 'No Country For Old Men'. I also like gathering people's opinions on books and authors. I'll usually ask my friend kt1000 his opinion because I trust his judgement as well as the McCovey Chronicles community their opinions. 

I also admittedly look up books on Wikipedia. I know this isn't the best way to judge whether I should read a book or not because Wikipedia is not always that accurate. I go to Wikipedia more for a general idea of what a book is about or the themes an author explores. 

Why am I bringing this up? Because I want to talk about William Faulkner. The people at McCovey Chronicles talk about books a lot. What books to read and what books to avoid. During one of these discussions I brought up the fact that I'm on a Hemingway kick and that I was thinking of moving on to Faulkner. I was told by a couple of people to avoid Faulkner because he's too preachy, his prose to difficult to enjoy. 

I asked Kris for his opinion and he said he enjoyed The Sound and the Fury and Intruder in the Dust. Shelby Foote quotes Intruder in the Dust during the Gettysburg episode of Ken Burns' Civil War

Then I looked up Faulkner on Wikipedia. It's clear reading the synopsis' of Faulkner's books he devoted a lot of time and energy talking about race, the plantation system during slavery, families struggling to keep their mini-empires together, Jim Crow Laws, and forbidden love. 

The synopsis that interested me the most was Absalom, Absalom!. I won't give away what Wikipedia says but let's just that it interested me enough to buy a 1 cent copy of Absalom,Absalom! on Amazon. And I would be lying if the title didn't draw me to this book because the story of Absalom or the wayward son didn't fascinate me in bible study. 

Let's just say after about 20 pages I was hooked. As everyone has told me, Faulkner is a master at crafting sentences. In Absalom, Absalom! though Faulkner points out pretty quickly that there aren't going to be many sympathetic characters here folks. It's beautiful and a little chilling reading about such awful people. 

My only nit-pick with the book is that Faulkner loves himself some very long paragraphs. Like two page paragraphs. This can make a book just a tad bit hard to read. That's a small nit-pick though and shouldn't stop you from reading Absalom, Absalom!

Ultimately books are like anything else in life. You have to try it before knowing if you love something or hate something. You can ask someone for their opinions but you have to make the final decision and you'll never truly know what you feel until you try. I've read Faulkner and I liked his writing and story. And I'm going to read another one of his books soon. 

1 comment:

  1. Faulkner also wrote the screenplay to "The Big Sleep" among other movies in the late 40's & 50's.