James Jones -- Information
Yeah, I know, I promised once a week and then I promptly skipped a week. Disclipine! I must learn discipline!
Anyway, before I get to the above. The general plan for this blog is to get up to date on the information. Once that's done -- if you're reading ahead! -- this is what we'll tackle:
Robert Marasco - BURNT OFFERINGS
Fred Exley -- A FAN'S NOTES
Jack Finney -- various, certainly INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS but I'm really interested in the ones that ain't that, like THE NIGHT PEOPLE
Herman Wouk -- THE CAINE MUTINY, MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR, YOUNGBLOOD HAWKE, and probably one more, probably DON'T STOP THE CARNIVAL as the only way you will ever get me to read THE WINDS OF WAR is if you point a gun at my head and keep it there for the duration.
Still, Wouk's just the kind of author this blog was put here to address.
As for what I'm reading right now that's not part of the 'official' blog:
Georges Simenon -- NOVEMBER
I like Simenon, or better I admire him. I think the Maigret books are perfect of their kind, although I find them completely tedious and rather look askance at anyone who wouldn't. (Maigret basically solves his crimes by "being French".) Still, they admirably do what they set out to do.
NOVEMBER is not a Maigret novel, and seems a bit more lively right now, although I wonder if a lot isn't lost in the translation -- the prose here is ridiculously stiff. Alas, one of the things I've decided I won't do in this lifetime is learn to read French.
G.K. Chesterton -- various
An odd duck -- little of his work is truly satisfying, but none of it's truly awful, either. Even the worst of it has it's moments of really terrific insight; wheras even the best has terrible moments of tedium.
He'll be best known for THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY, which I reread and which has it's moments, but after steeping myself in the guy's work seems to me more a dramatization of his ideas than anything. It's not bad, mind you -- and it's a beautiful picture of Edwardian England -- but I don't hold it in the high regard that others do. I prefer some of the "Father Brown" stories -- there's good ones sprinkled throughout, actually, a surprisingly consistent performer, Mr. Chesterton -- and HERETICS, which is his commentary on various leading lights of his age and in many respects seems greatly ahead of it's time. I've also read ORTHODOXY, THE BALL AND THE CROSS, THE FLYING INN, and some short fiction; the one I still really need to get is THE NAPOLEON OF NOTTING HILL, although I might spring for MANALIVE if I see a copy somewhere.
Anyway, James Jones. A dreadfully self-serious guy in the style of that time, although I do have me a weakness for Hemingway wannabes.
Here's the Paris Review, which I haven't read because I'm not that interested in him:
My take on Jones is that he had talent but was deeply unfocused and undisciplined as a writer -- as heavily edited as rumor had it he was, he wasn't edited enough. One wonders if the success of FROM HERE TO ETERNITY essentially ruined him for serious work.
But anyway, there's a literary society, too. Dig that snazzy droop of the cigarette:
Here's a good brief bio from the esteemable kirjasto website:
Here's an audio interview from 1975. Unfortunately it requires Real Player to run, and I hate Real Player. http://wiredforbooks.org/jamesjones/
That's all the useful stuff I could find off the top of the bat. If you try googling for him yourself, be sure to do "James Jones + writer" or some such thing, as there's fifty kazillion James Jones's out there, including someone who plays basketball in Phoenix and someone who prays in Canterbury.