March 19, 2008

But That's Midnight to You

Like many young men in their 20's, my reading tastes had gravitated towards the hard-boiled school of writing. Part of it was that, in that time, I had some ideal of being a knight errant - a noble loner who took on a corrupt system but would not become corrupt himself.

As many readers of this blog may be aware, I have championed Raymond Chandler's work - unlike many hard-boiled writers, Chandler's craft was just as strong as his atmospherics. His ability to write sharp one-liners while simultaneously creating a Los Angeles that could only in prose was remarkable. (So much so that I visited the city - twice - but was never able to track down what is now known as Raymond Chandler Square). It's a style of writing that seems deceptively simple...until you try to do it yourself. (And believe me, I did. Badly.)

So, heartened as I was after finishing some Robert B. Parker novels given by a fellow comics blogger (hint: he's a cute little stuffed bull), I was surprised to see that the Chicago Public Library's "One Book, One Chicago" selection as The Long Goodbye, Chander's last great novel. (Not coincidentally, several Chicago area crime writers will be blogging about the book during April as well). It's been awhile since I read it - in fact, the last time I encountered the piece was through Robert Altman's film adaptation (which I absolutely enjoy - and I do not like Altman's movies).

It's one of the many things that are an excellent reminder of why I moved back to Chicago - in fact, it's coming on my first anniversary back. An excellent book by an excellent author in a great city...but here's what I would like to encourage anyone reading to do:
  • If you live in Chicago, and read this blog, and want to do one of the many discussion groups about the book, let me know. More than willing to meet more cool people.
  • If you are new to Chandler, I would suggest starting with The Big Sleep and follow it with Farewell, My Lovely before tackling The Long Goodbye.
  • Finally, support your local public library - not only are they great places to find good reads, but several librarians are also extremely cool bloggers.
But all in all, I'm extremely enthusiastic - it's not every day one gets to revisit one's youth.

I only hope I'm up to the challenge.

1 comment:

JohnH985 said...

I love Raymond Chandler and have read all of his books more than once. But I hated the Altman movie.