Fay: Hey ste
Fay: Shall we go through the rigmarole?
Fay: What are you reading this week?
Steven: WELL mon frere for funsies i am finishing The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips which is FANTASTIC and hopefully when it comes out in paperback we’ll stock the shit out of it
Fay: I don’t know how I feel about your language
Steven: i feel very good about it, very positive
Steven: Then not for funsies i am reading don ihde’s bodies in technology and nicolas rasmussen’s picture control for my THESIS in my HONOURS year
Steven: no biggie
Fay: You’re doing HONOURS? Who knew? In what field?
Steven: the well known and widely enrolled in and celebrated discipline of history and philosophy of science
Steven: let me tell you when i graduate the jobs will come ROLLING IN
Steven: what about you bruda?
Fay: I just finished The Keep by Jennifer Egan and it was excellent! I’m going to order some into the shop. It’s interesting and a bit different and compellingly told just like Goon Squad. She has a real gift for voices, that Egan lady
Steven: especially privileged white voices!
Steven: i kid!
Steven: (but a little)
Fay: Some of these voices are not so privileged! I think they are all white though
Fay: She won ToB last year right?
Steven: she sure did fay!
Steven: IT’S STARRRRRRTTEEED
Steven: as mentioned yesterday, sense of an ending DEMOLISHED devil all the time
Steven: and today lightning rods surprisingly CRUSHED Salvage the Bones
Fay: I was so excited when I woke up yesterday!
Fay: I got to read some judging on books, some commentary on books and then my favourite won
Fay: And I don’t know how you get DEMOLISHED from a discussion pointing out the merits and flaws of both books
Steven: your favourite aka the only one you read?
Fay: But I really liked it
Steven: well disciples, guess what? I READ THEM BOTH
Steven: yes you can have it all
Fay: I wish you’d stop calling them disciples
Fay: So even though I agree with the outcome I disagree with the ToB discussion around the ending of Sense of an Ending. I thought it was perfect for a book that is an understated meditation on memory. NO SPOILERS but I found it NEITHER anti-climactic nor a comment on the nature of twists
Steven: well for that NO SPOILERS alone you are one better than a certain 2012 Age Short Story competition winner/horrible monster, BRAM PRESSER
Steven: into the epic tale of betrayal
Fay: Tell us more!
Steven: once upon a time, there was a sweet, naive, relatively newly employed bookshop person who was simultaneously handsome and clever
Steven: this certain person, no names or anything, happened to be planning on reading Julian Barnes’s most recent book The Sense of an Ending
Steven: when in walked into the shop, the devil in human form, BRAM ‘UGH’ PRESSER
Steven: he acted all friendly like sure, we were introduced, and he started up a conversation with our 2nd most presently-in-the-country manager, margaret, about, like, books and stuff
Steven: he went on for a while in such a manner, lulling me into a false sense of security when B(R)AM! he struck
Steven: and he goes something like ‘yeah and really what happened was SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER MUAHAHAHAHA’
Steven: and then i had an unfortunate sense of the ending
Steven: and now we are enemies, he and i
Steven: NEVER FORGET
Fay: It’s a story for our times
Fay: It’s like Brutus and Peter Pettigrew mixed together
Steven: it’s like when SPOILER betrayed SPOILER
Fay: It’s exactly like that
Steven: the joke being BRAM ‘RESPONSIBLE FOR 9/11?’ PRESSER would have put names there that would RUIN things for people
Steven: also i read the devil all the time!
Fay: Does that one come with a terrifying yet mesmerising backstory?
Steven: fortunately for me, no, though those words would pretty accurately describe the book
Steven: it should have been called DEATH all the time!
Steven: (though The Devil all the Time gets Steven’s coveted Best-name-of-the-ToB award. The Sisters Brothers (The BEST Brothers!) gets the worst)
Steven: it’s set in rural backwater Ohio and West Virginia and it is about poor people doing terrible things/having terrible things done to them
Fay: Wow that sounds like fun reading times
Steven: it opens with the story of returned WWII soldier Willard Russell giving blood sacrifices in the vain hope of saving his dying wife, then follows several connected characters including a serial killer and his wife, her brother the corrupt sheriff, travelling preachers turned murderers theodore and russell, and most importantly, Willard’s son Arvin, fundamentally a good man but led to violence
Steven: it is a gruesome southern gothic
Steven: and it is well written
Steven: but overall there’s just not enough there
Steven: (though all the characters’ stories do come together in a clever way at the end)
Steven: it’s not a book that sticks with you, and it’s not deep enough
Steven: a pretty good book but not a great book
Fay: Whereas Sense of an Ending is definitely a great book (to get my foot back in the door of the conversation)
Steven: sure is!
Fay: It’s understated and deceptively simple
Steven: mr. booker distributed his book prize wisely this year
Fay: and so so beautifully and carefully written
Fay: and real, like with wisdom that can be applied to real life
Fay: as opposed to southern murderers
Fay: also wonderfully quoteable
Fay: (I really liked it)
Steven: well real life wisdom is hardly the benchmark of a good book
Steven: but yes it was very good
Fay: no but it makes it stay with you when the other factors are there too
Steven: and i like the idea of a melancholy reevaluation of the past
Fay: good choice, Emma Straub!
Fay: as for today’s match, neither of us have read either book
Steven: as mentioned earlier on the blog, it’s pretty difficult to get Lightning Rods in australia
Steven: and Salvage the Bones has animal death, which basically means it’s out of bounds for fay and me with our sensitive souls
Steven: it’s disquallification saves us from having to read it though!
Fay: I was definitely not reading about dog fighting
Steven: THOUGH it is meant to be very good!
Fay: And we have it in!
Fay: So if you’re into animal cruelty, come visit!
Fay: and we’ll report you to PETA
Steven: (again though, good book)
Steven: anyway tomorrow we have the VERY BIG 1Q84 up against the very little The Last Brother
Steven: which fay will have some things to say about
Fay: A conversation I will DOMINATE
Fay: having actually read both books for like the only time in the first round match ups
Steven: i personally am waiting for the battle between state of wonder and sisters brothers. were it judged by anyoneelse i say the former would be an easy win but i’m hoping wil wheaton’s (better known as this guy) nerditude could let my fave through
Fay: So we’ll see you soon for more ToB fun!
Steven: so stay safe guys, against my best efforts BRAM ‘POSSIBLE SEX OFFENDER’ PRESSER is still on the streets