Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Personal Genre Challenge & NYT Notable Book Challenge

Cormac McCarthy
Personal Rating: 4.25/5
Yearly Count: 25

NO, I did not read this as an Oprah Book Club member! I checked it out from the library and had it nicely nestled in a pile of TBR books days before she announced it. However, I did put it on the top of the pile once I knew I wouldn't be able to renew it because hordes of people would be placing it on hold.

*I'm not sure why I felt compelled to share the above, but I feel better now. :)

Normally when I finish a book, I run to the computer (okay, I don't run, but I do make it there rather quickly) and type out my thoughts. I don't feel 100% finished until I click "PUBLISH", and then I can move on to the next book. I tell you that because that didn't happen this time. It couldn't. I couldn't. I couldn't put my thoughts together enough to make any sense. (I'm not quite sure if I waited long enough now!) Anyway...

Wow! Bleak. Powerful. Thought-provoking. This author was as new-to-me as was the subject matter, so I had two whammies at once. What a well-written post-apocalyptic novel, although on occasion it felt a little drawn out. I attributed that to my traveling "the road" with this father and son duo and feeling every pothole and pebble along the way. I continue to feel a little battered from the ramifications of that journey and suggest all readers be prepared.

I have been left in somewhat of a funk. I am in need of something a little more uplifting. I'm off to find some happiness...

*Recommended By:
A Fraternity of Dreamers


  1. Anonymous7:21 AM

    Wow, that douns like quite a compelling book. I know what you mean about not wanting to follow the crowd. We have the same thing here in the UK - anything that is recommended on the Richard & Judy show is instantly moved to the bottom of the pile!

    Hope you find something happy to read now.

  2. I was tempted to put that disclaimer at the top of my post, too. And, I know exactly how you felt after finishing, as I did, too. I grabbed the first "fluffy" book off my stack, hoping to pull myself out of the funk The Road had thrown me into.

    If you want to read more by McCarthy, I suggest All the Pretty Horses. I read it a few years ago and loved it. Beautiful writing. Very different from The Road.

  3. Anonymous4:53 PM

    I loved All The Pretty Horses but it was mostly because the writing was just so darn....lyrical, not so much the plot, which seemed to be secondary a lot of the time.

    I haven't read The Road yet, but I will, Oprah or no Oprah. Personally, I'm pro Oprah just because she gets people to actually read. Even if a lot of it isn't to my taste.

  4. From the reviews I've read, this sounds like a book I should read, but I don't know if I WANT to read it.

  5. Heidijane ~ I've been reading non-fiction educational reference books. I didn't want to follow any sort of storyline for a bit, which is so out of character for me.

    Les ~ Thank you, Les. I will look into ALL THE PRETTY HORSES. This one was soooo powerful with soooo few words that it'll be interesting to read and compare his style in something more uplifting.

    Carrie K. ~ I'm not anti-Oprah. I read NIGHT with her group and followed along, etc. I loved it. However, I was reading this one from a recommendation by a fellow blogger friend (Kookie jar at A Fraternity of Dreamers). She deserves the credit, not Oprah. :)

    Booklogged ~ I so understand your trepidation...it is well-founded. I'd say read it, so you can have your own opinion and not wonder.

  6. These comments were made on the NYT Notable Book Challenge Blog:

    kookiejar said...
    Pretty much unlike anything else you've ever read, huh Joy? It's a real kick in the gut, but everybody I know whose read it is really glad they did. Did you find the ending uplifting or hopeful in any way?

    April 4, 2007 12:44 PM

    Wendy said...
    You wrote: "Normally when I finish a book, I run to the computer (okay, I don't run, but I do make it there rather quickly) and type out my thoughts. I don't feel 100% finished until I click "PUBLISH", and then I can move on to the next book."

    Exactly how I feel - LOL!

    Can't wait to read this book; but it will have to wait one more month for me to catch up on other books first!

    April 4, 2007 1:01 PM

    Joy said...


    Kookie ~ I have never been so affected by a book in such a negative way! I found it soooo depressing. The writing was just fabulous in the sense of it being so real and plausible...sad to say.

    I found the ending to be hopeful in the sense that the boy wasn't going to be on his own. I felt the family was genuine in their offer to take him under their wing. However, the future of everybody seemed very bleak with not much hope for survival in the long run.

    I have been reading my educational reference books since I finished it. I can't remember the last time I needed a "break" from a book.

    Is ALAS, BABYLON this powerful and/or bleak?


    Wendy ~ Surround it by uplifting, humorous, exciting type books.

    April 5, 2007 8:09 AM

  7. More comments from the NYT Notable Book Challenge:

    kookiejar said...

    Joy, 'Alas Babylon' is not nearly as bleak. It deals with similar themes, but because an entire town survives the holocaust there is a more hopeful tone and lots of interesting character interaction. I think you'll like it.

    April 5, 2007 11:38 AM

  8. Anonymous4:49 PM

    This is one that I really want to read - even though Oprah has picked it.

    BTW - check my blog - you've been tagged.

  9. More from the NYT Notable Challenge Blog:

    Amy said...


    I felt the same. For half the book I was unsure that I would finish.

    I am glad I read it before Oprah recommended it because I haven't typically liked the books she has recommended and that may have put me off.

    April 5, 2007 6:42 PM

  10. Again, more from the NYT Notable Book Challenge Blog:

    Wendy said...

    Are all of McCarthy's books a bit gloomy? I read a review on another of his books, and although the reviewer thought it was an amazing book, she described it as dark and dreary.

    April 6, 2007 10:34 AM

  11. More from the NYT Challenge:

    Joy said...
    ~ I actually thought the first 1/3 (?) was a little repetitious. This is the second time I was "in progress" of reading a book when Oprah announced it as her book choice.

    Wendy ~ I don't know, but many people have liked the Pretty Horses one. That doesn't sound so bad. *grin*

    April 7, 2007 7:29 AM

  12. NYT Challenge Blog Comment:

    Maggie said...

    I absolutely LOVED No Country for Old Men!

    Sometimes, I felt I had already been to that part of the road and I think McCarthy's style lead me to this mundane feeling. Wind blowing ash, ash blown wind, grey from ash, coated in ash...I was blowing my book off before each reading! ;D

    Reference his style, I just love that he keeps the punctuation to a minimum.

    Was anyone bothered that he demands a name from Ely, but never offers his or his son's?

    BTW, McCarthy began his career as a Southern Gothic writer. He was from Tennessee before moving out west.

    Oh, how will Oprah's audience react to this story?

    April 7, 2007 7:52 AM

  13. Anonymous10:35 PM

    Ah, it's post apocalyptic too! I'll have to pick it up soon, I'm in a post apocalyptic phase. (and try typing apocalyptic more than once. At least I can't spell it the same way twice.)

    I think I love Cormac McCarthy's sentences more than the sum of his books.

    I stand corrected on the Oprah! Always good to give credit where credit is due.

  14. Carrie K. ~ :) Now that it's Oprah's choice...it most likely will be remembered in that light. Whatever. Like you said before, she's getting people to read and that's to be commended!

  15. It's funny - I said the smae thing as part of my review that I put up yesterday. I chose this book before Oprah did :)

    I know she does a good job encouraging reading - but if I was someone who was not a good reader - I am not sure I could cope with the in-depth (often depressing)books she selects.

  16. Sally906 ~ She certainly does have a reputation for choosing depressing books.


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