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Below is a visual aid representation of the most recent books I’ve read. They are dividedby before I read any Cormac McCarthy (Pre-Mac) and during or after reading Cormac McCarthy (Post-Mac). These are novels I consider above average or great, books that stick out in my memory. I’ve omitted books I began and abandoned. Generally, these books are from oldest to most recently read; however, I am not responsible for these not being in exact order. (If you are asking a) who else should be responsible, or b) why am I not responsible—I am inclined to answer because one’s memory is fallible and sometimes we even create false memories to better suit our notion of an ideal past. But, the truth is because I am lazy and simply don’t feel like expending the mental energy to meticulously put these books in order, ok. Let’s just leave it at that.)
Post-Mac :No Country for Old Men ® The Road ® Blood Meridian ® Blood Meridian; Or the Evening Redness in the West ® Suttree ® The Orchard Keeper ® Child of God ® The Wild Palms; If I Forget Thee Jerusalem ® Tobacco Road ® One Foot in Eden ® Light in August
Now, let’s have a look at the Pre-Mac group first. You will notice that my reading interests while all contemporary fiction, were for the most part varied. The only deviation occurs between ª. These books indicate a short spell of only reading Haruki Murakami, and for anyone familiar with his work…can you really blame me? As far as I’m concerned, this Pre-Mac group represents a healthy variation of books. For the most part all exhibit different settings and plots, different types of characters, and different writing styles. This group represents a healthy, ideal reading diet.
Now, moving on. As you can see the Post-Mac group shows that not only did I fall into a rut, my reading diet pretty much became static. When the books weren’t Cormac McCarthy books, I still didn’t venture outside the Southern Gothic/Western genre. This group represents the opposite of the Pre-Mac group: same author, similar settings, the style largely the same due to author. Even after I made my way through McCarthy’s stronger works, I still couldn’t find my way outside the Southern Gothic Tradition. In fact, as you can see, I sunk deeper in the mire, reverting backwards to Faulkner and Caldwell. What you don’t see here is my attempt to find my way out, to resume my varied reading experience, which failed miserably.
In closing, what’s the point of this exercise? What did we learn? Hopefully, we learned that sometimes finding your favorite author can RUIN YOUR LIFE! Ok, that’s a bit severe. You see, I’m still stuck. I’m still mostly reading Southern Gothic Lit, even Westerns which I’ve never had a liking to before. My advice: avoid, at all costs, books or authors you can’t find your way out of. If you find a favorite author, run for the hills! That author wants to take over your life! Trust me, I know. Keep as much color as possible on your palette. Don’t be like me.