In Which Our Heroine Demands a Dancing Monkey

14 September 2005

We're coming up on another library book sale, and I'm not sure I should go. The thing is, I just finished reading Richard Rhodes's memoir, A Hole in the World, and I bought it for a dime at the first library book sale we went to here in Eagan. Which was not long after we moved in. Which was two years ago now.

That's a bit long for a book to sit on the "to read" pile, is my thought, particularly as I've only gotten to it now due to prolonged fatigue (which, in my case, leads to lots of reading on the couch). And there are a few more from that library book sale still on the pile. And...well. We're no longer at a stage in our life when we need to pick up books at the absolute cheapest possible price. We can afford to be a bit more choosy.

Richard Rhodes, in case that name doesn't ring a bell, is the guy who wrote The Making of the Atomic Bomb and also Dark Sun: the Making of the Hydrogen Bomb. And those are interesting books, but his memoir is a memoir of his childhood. I can see why it was important to him to write it all down. I'm even glad, for his sake, that he did. But it failed to make me any more interested in Richard Rhodes than I was before.

Criticizing memoirs is hard, because it feels like criticizing the person. Make your suffering interesting! Dance for me, monkey! But on the other hand, well, memoirs are no more excused from structure and purpose than any other work. There were spots in A Hole in the World where I thought Rhodes was going to use the whole thing to illuminate more of how he had been influenced by some of the horrific elements of his childhood, but he didn't tie it nearly so much together as I would have hoped.

Anyway, there's really not much news that's fit to print here: the city resurfaced our road today, and while I'm glad of it, the smell has knocked me for more of a loop than it usually would. Hope your home is less stinky.

Back to Novel Gazing.

And the main page.

Or the last entry.

Or the next one.

Or even send me email.