Grits and Tamales

Life in the Deep South, by Gabriel Aguilera

Dolores Bozovic and I trade notes on 2012 readings

2012 Reading List.  Other reading updates can be had here, here, here, and here.


I just finished the Border Trilogy. Huge thanks are due to Gabe for putting together this list, as I would have completely missed McCarthy. I found the books absolutely riveting, particularly the second one, The Crossing.

It is hard for me to point out what it was that I loved so much. Stylistically, it is reminiscent of many genres, but it really does its own thing. Laconic, like the cowboys it depicts. Nostalgic for the old southwest, but in a non-sentimental way. And the violence, which is difficult to stomach at times, is so emotionally raw, it gives the stories such intensity.


I am very behind on the readings, but working hard to catch up.



Dolores (and anyone else paying attention)-

Good news on the Border Triology, which I have not touched but will do so. I’ve jumped ahead. Finished the Faulkner though I must confess that I still don’t have my head around The Sound and the Fury. That will require another read down the road. I started To Kill a Mockingbird, which I missed in high school. It’s a gorgeous straightforward narrative thus far, quintessentially Southern, which is a bit of fresh air after Faulkner. I’m working my way piecemeal, sentence by sentence, through The Civil War which I have read before, and I’m getting close to finishing Moby Dick (don’t tell me how it ends). Oh, I decided to use Blood Meridian for my course, Cultures of Violence. The students have reacted real well to it thus far. I’ve gone through it line by line and it has blown me away. The philosophic content, the use of metaphor, and poetry have elevated it to the level of “great work,” worthy to sit on my shelf next to my most favorite books. His unconventional use of grammar also makes sense to me now. The Kid’s odyssey is not through Dante’s Inferno; rather, it is a tour through Hobbes’s state of nature and the remote interstices of the human heart. In the state of nature, the notion of justice is absurd. In this world the Judge is neither god nor devil and the use of correct grammar and punctuation is absurd and inappropriate to accomplish his goal which is nothing less than to narrate what we are as a species absent a Leviathan.

I hope there rest of you have taken in one or more of these great books.



Dolores at To Kill a Mockingbird Courtroom.  Monroe Alabama.


2 responses to “Dolores Bozovic and I trade notes on 2012 readings

  1. Jesse Pluim May 27, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    I remember you posting this a while back, and just finished Blood Meridian. I can’t believe I put it off this long. You are spot on about the philosophical nature of the Judge and the Kid’s journey. But what did you think of the epilogue; the lone man drilling holes along the plain (presumably for a fence) and the listless masses moving into and inhabiting the once wild frontier. Was it meant to symbolize the civilizing of a wild west only known to the Glanton gang, or do the fence and the new generation of pioneers just represent a new veneer upon which the ‘dance’ of violence will take another shape?
    Blood Meridian alone reads as the former, but if you consider McCarthy’s other work (Specifically Child of God and No Country for Old Men) he seems to say that human brutality exists in equal capacity despite civilization.

    Anyway, you’re the only one I know who’s read it and I feel the pressing need to talk about it.

    PS. I researched the Judge’s recipe for gun powder from Chapter 10. In theory it checks out, but, in practice, they would need more time to dry out the urine. FYI, in case you ever have the need.

    • gaofla67 June 24, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      Apologies for the late reply. I had not picked up on the metaphor at the end so I am delighted that you pointed it out. That said, I think it’s easy. It symbolizes the coming of the Hobbesian state. With it, laws, civilization, and true liberty. Not the false liberty of the Kid. Notice that The Road is life in a post Hobbesian state. Cheers.

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