Here’s a review of The Godless:
I must admit that this has been one of my most enjoyable, refreshing reads for 2014.
I loved the premise, and in general the concepts behind the writing. It could just be me bringing my own biases into the reading, but I took a lot of parallels between Peek’s post-Gods world and our own slow move out of the shadow of historical religions. The exploration of what it means for society to stand on its own, without reference to supernatural entities. The taking on of power that has been historically seen as the province of the divine. The need to take responsibility to chart our own path forward. The power of even remnants of religion to inspire terrible deeds in the name of holy mandate. I found Peek’s interrogation of these concepts to be quite powerful and thought provoking. If nothing else, the concepts behind this story would have been enough to hook me in.
But this is no worthy but dry tome, meant to educate rather than entertain. I found the work utterly engaging, and it was only in reflecting on it later than some of these themes came through (and as I say, I could be ascribing my own biases to the work). The use of language in this work is delightful, the pacing superb. I found the characters to be vividly drawn and compelling in their motivations. In short it was an excellent read.
You can read the rest of it here. It’s pretty nice, and I was glad to see someone who enjoyed the time slippage structure, and the diversity.
Also, because it’s referenced in the post, I totally adore Joseph Heller’s Catch 22. I think it’s closest to being one of the most complete and best books I’ve read and, perhaps a bit oddly, I read it while writing the Godless. I found a nice, old hardback of it in a book store in Arkansas, and read it while I was there and on the flight back. I wouldn’t say it had any real influence on me, but any excuse to mention it now to you, if you haven’t read it.
This article on the Guardian has been doing the rounds.
You might have read it, already. It’s about an author who confronts her book blogger critic, or perhaps more accurately, stalks her blogger nemesis. It’s all kinds of bad, but it could have been, ‘Someone on Goodreads gave me a bad review and I lived with it.’ It would have been a shorter article, it’s true, and it would not have had time to introduce the idea of a book blogger using a fake identity to get away with what she/he does, a concept that, lets be honest, isn’t new on the internet, or indeed life. Sadly, I think the thing to take away from the article is just how desperate authors become to have their work read, and to create a successful narrative about it in the reviews, to help propel it along.
But still, it’s easier just to live with a bad review. The truth is, the more people who read your work, the more people you are going to encounter who dislike your work, and from that pool, there will be people who have an axe to grind over you, for something you did (or didn’t do) in your book. You’ll have to deal with it if it’s someone with a fake identity out to bully you, or if it is someone out there who just honestly disliked your book.
But I’m also the guy who once promoted a book by selling badges that said, I Hate Ben Peek, so what do I know?
At any rate, that’s enough for today. I have writing that needs to be done, and books that need to be read. In the latter, I am way behind in where I would like to be, and I suspect this year I will fall much lower than my desired book a week plan. There’s a lot of reasons, and I understand that, but still, I want to make an effort to push as far as I can by the end of the year.
After all, in a lifetime, you can only read so much.