Posted at Oct 7, 2007 7:07 pm

After several nudges from friends and family I finally gave in and signed up for Facebook. It’s all over.  LJ was bad enough, but I am in serious danger of never turning off the laptop.  I just wasted two hours…..
Just read Blessing on the Moon by Joseph Skibell. It was excellent. I normally never read “Holocaust literature” but this book was entirely different from the “I am going to make you sick and cry” variety that clogs most Judaica bookstore shelves.   The story actually begins with the death (by firing squad) of the central character and traces his fifty year journey to eternal rest.  The author never draws on the reader’s established emotional reactions to the Holocaust but successfully creates a new story with the well-known historical scene as an understated background.  I have always objected to Holocaust lit because I felt that the writer was simply using a tapped out genre to easily evoke existing feelings in his audience.  No new ground is broken;  the reader simply re-experiences the photographs and video footage that he has already seen hundreds of times before.  This novel felt original and successfully brought folklore and fantasy into a terrible reality.
That review came out more flowery than I intended.
Bottom line- beautifully written.
And now to 120 year old literature:
I hate Henry James
There. I said it. I have read the first hundred pages of Portrait of  a Lady.  There are so many reasons that it sucks that I am not going to bother listing them all.  I do intend to finish it because I want to properly tear it apart. Or possibly change my mind. (very unlikely)  The man goes on and on and on and on about how intelligent Isabel Archer is but in the inane chit-chat that clutters the first twelve chapters the girl barely makes a case for dull and immature.   Why would you write  a hundred  paragraphs telling the reader about how bright and imaginative a girl is and have her introduce herself in conversation with the scintillating exclamations: “Oh, you adorable creature!” (directed at a collie)  Or “I’ve never seen anything so lovely as this place. I’ve been all over the house; it’s too enchanting.”


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