22 chapters into Huckleberry Finn

September 24, 2021 I’ve read seven more chapters of "Huckleberry Finn," and in that short space we’ve got two very dark episodes: the feuding clans that are rather quickly annihilating themselves, and a near-lynching of a man who has himself committed a cold-blooded murder of a drunk.  All of this violence is told in a … Continue reading 22 chapters into Huckleberry Finn

Starting Huckleberry Finn

September 23, 2021 I’ve taken years to read "The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn", because of its darn reputation. The back cover of my 1985 Penguin edition quotes Hemingway’s famous line, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn”.  Further down we read that “Of all the contenders for the title … Continue reading Starting Huckleberry Finn

Little Women

The following things about Louisa May Alcott's “Little Women” have surprised me:  it’s a very Christian work; it’s ridiculously funny; and tremendously erudite. The movies of “Little Women” that I’ve seen don’t give a sense of the following things:  it’s a very Christian work; it’s ridiculously funny; and tremendously erudite. (To be more precise, it’s … Continue reading Little Women

The Last Picture Show

I knew nothing about this story going in.  I thought it was going to be some sober, artsy-fartsy thing.  It’s actually filled with sex, much of it surprisingly explicit and even erotic.  The sex is painted real, meaning it’s only occasionally a joyful thing and more often: sad, boring, painful, calculating, stolen, paid for, animalistic … Continue reading The Last Picture Show

Hero, meet your villain; or, never mind

It's a common trope in fiction: a final confrontation between the central hero of a story and its central villain. It's an important trope in Westerns, both on the page and screen -- Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven" is just one famous example. And we see it in works of fiction that are too many to count: … Continue reading Hero, meet your villain; or, never mind