I’m Giving Up on Blackwood Farm


I’m giving up on Blackwood Farm. Yet another Anne Rice book that seems to be all exposition. Why? The most fundamental rule of creative writing is “show don’t tell.” I will always maintain that Interview With the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat were great. I liked The Tale of the Body Thief, too, but dammit, I’m not trying anymore. I give up on you, Anne Rice.

In other news, I did get BookQueueToo working. Actually, I didn’t. My host did. You know, they don’t suck. I thought they did after the debacle in August, but I’ve changed my mind. In general, they respond pretty quickly to help requests. They got Storable Perl loaded for me and now they have installed XML::Parser in the right spot. I can’t complain about them anymore. On the other hand, they never did figure out how to configure the MIME type to display CSS, but that’s OK, since I found a workaround.

What does all of this mean to you? Well, since I put Cane River back on the nightstand (and may or may not pick it back up again) and gave up on Blackwood Farm, it means you didn’t know what I was reading, and I know it was agonizing for you me. Now we’re all updated and life is grand. I sure do wish I could get into Cane River. I think it might be a good payoff. I can’t figure out why I can’t get into it.

I teach American Literature. I have a list of essential American novels that you must read, ranked in no particular order (except somewhat chronological). I purposely didn’t include drama or poetry. I didn’t link them, but they should be easy enough to find at Amazon or Barnes and Noble online or in your favorite bookstore. You can add your own favorites in comments.

  • The Scarlet Letter
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • The Awakening
  • The Age of Innocence
  • Ethan Frome
  • The Great Gatsby
  • A Farewell to Arms
  • The Sun Also Rises
  • The Sound and the Fury
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Of Mice and Men
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Color Purple
  • Beloved
  • The Poisonwood Bible

For what it’s worth, I ran across this. I don’t know about the veracity of the statement that any such survey of college professors was taken, but if you want to be as well-educated as they hope the average college freshman is, have at that list. I haven’t read a great deal of it. The website’s author misspelled Edgar Allan Poe’s name, which is a pet peeve of mine. this list is better.

I’m very glad tomorrow is Friday. Long week. Don’t ask.


2 thoughts on “I’m Giving Up on Blackwood Farm

  1. I'd add _The Joy Luck Club_ . I love that book. Ah, American literature–not my favorite, but I love teaching it. Odd huh? 🙂

  2. Those lists are great, but I'm finding that even though I read some of those books in high school, that I'm not any more "educated" and in fact, missed the overall meaning and profoundness of the novel. And, while I can say I've read these books, it really doesn't mean a whole lot if I can't recall them with any amount of respect for the work or the author. Maybe I'm getting at quality versus quanity, as those lists seem very ambitious. Or maybe it depends on the teaching.

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