Saturday, 2 May 2009

Dirt Music

Every once in a while I come across a book that I know I'm going to enjoy reading a second time. I don't let it happen very often because there are so many good books out there waiting to be met and there just isn't enough time to meet them all as it is.

E. Annie Proulx's The Shipping News was one of these. When I read it, quite a few years ago, I knew I was going to indulge myself in a second reading and I did. Enjoyed it as much, if not more, and just wanted to soak it all up all over again.

Tim Winton's Dirt Music was another. It's prose to swim in. Beautiful stuff. The sort of writing you just don't want to come to an end. Recently, I found myself craving a third read and... yep, it remains a wonderful novel.

Still haven't picked up a copy of his latest, Breath, but must do this soon.


Jon Haylett said...

I find myself doing this re-reading of books more and more, Paul. Partly it may be because I'm less adventurous - I haven't the time to risk on books which I might not enjoy - partly it's because, as you suggest, there are books which are gems, and a gem isn't something you wear only once. Some of the novels I've recently re-read, such as those by Hammond Innes and Alistair MacLean, were written by master storytellers but are also historical documents, offering windows into a very different age.

Paul said...

There certainly is a special pleasure in it, Jon. It's many years since I've read an Alistair MacLean, and I'm not sure whether I ever finished a Hammond Innes or not - I remember my parents reading them, I think - but the books of both authors have been very popular with film makers across the years, which is sometimes an effective measure of a well-paced action story. I think MacLean also wrote under the name of Desmond Bagley (but I might have got this wrong), which were similarly tightly-woven stories.

Swubird said...


I haven't read anything by this author, but, on your recommendation, I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the tip.

I have a few books that I enjoy rereading from time to time. Sometimes I don't understand them the first time through, but upon rereading, things become more clear. I especially enjoy the classics, because I love that old way of writing. Poe, Steinbeck, Erskine Caldwell, Dickens, and even Capote. In fact, I recently reread Caldwell's Tobacco Road that was published in 1932 - so rich in description and character involvement. I love that book.

Anyway, Happy trails.

gary davison said...

mmmm, Mr B, this sounds too good to be of interest to me, and I might shelve this recommend in the 'at a push' drawer. It would be asking too much for us to have three books in a year that we both like!

Paul said...

I'm the same, Swubird; sometimes books reveal so much more second time around. I haven't read Caldwell or Capote yet, but Dickens, Poe and Steinbeck get a big tick. I have to confess to having read Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' more than 22 times. This has largely been because of work, but I still enjoy it.

Quite right, Gary. And it's a thick book too. One day, perhaps? ;-)