As a component to this website on my books, I would like to introduce a book review series called Is That an Old Book? I’ll be running it on a roughly monthly basis; see below for what it entails:
So I walked into this bookstore in 2010 and I was asking for one of Tony O’Neill’s early novels, which came out around 2008. I asked, “Do you have Down and Out on Murder Mile?”
The cashier said, “Hmmm…” …clackety-clack on computer… “Is that an old book?”
I held my tongue, despite its rabid wish to utter: “No, it is not an old book. THE ILIAD is an old book. A book that came out in 2008 is still a NEW book; a book that came out in the 1990’s is still a relatively new book. Even the eighties, even the seventies—Red Dragon, The Xenogenesis Series, all could be arguably dubbed contemporary fiction in relation to the full history of storytelling… So no, it’s not an old book. What’s more, since any book is new for someone cracking it for the first time, all of them, Gilgamesh, Gulliver, Oroonoko, they’re ALL NEW BOOKS…”
And so I’ll hold my tongue no longer, and now begin a series of short book reviews that includes titles released weeks, months, years, decades, even centuries ago…
As most of these reviews will be posted on Amazon, I’d like to make a brief statement about ratings. It goes like this: If I am taking the time to sit down and write about a book that I read, it means I’m giving it five stars. I do this because I have found something interesting and unique in the book to make it worth buying and reading. It does not mean that the book has no typos, never drifts into too much exposition or has cut out all redundant adverbs. Yes, quality prose matters, and most books that make it into the review will reflect this. But, as Mary Shelley and H.P. Lovecraft exemplify, eccentricities of style, even indulgence and poor grammar, can occasionally be offset by vision, excitement and originality. And so, to those who may argue that I do any sort of disservice by giving high ratings, while fair enough on one level, I would counter my goal is to be more like a curator at an art museum than a judge on American Idol—
And so, let’s delve into the collection and see what we discover…
First Review: Scott Nicholson’s They Hunger (see following post).