Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Title: Hugging the Shore
Author: John Updike
Genre: Non-fiction (814.5)
Challenges: Fill in the Gaps
Rating: B
Published: 1983
Date read: 11/16/09 – 4/30/11
No. of pages - 878

Mostly this tome is a collection of essays, book reviews of books written between the mid-1970’s through the early 1980’s and a Q&A at the end of Updike interviews about his writing and awards he’s won. Not really a book to be read straight through yet that’s what I did with a few breaks while I read other books, listened to cassette tapes and compact discs. For the most part I didn’t recognize many authors because many of them were foreign. There were, however, a number of authors I did recognize or that were referred to. Among these folk are also people referred to like James Garner who was mentioned in the biography of Doris Day by A. E. Hotchner. Garner, when interviewed commented that Day was one of the sexiest screen ladies he’d had the pleasure to be intimate with on-screen.

Other authors I’m familiar with are Mark Twain, Saul Bellow, John Cheever, Don DeLillo and Isak Dinesen, Ernest Hemingway and Anne Tyler. Others that I intend to read though maybe not the book Updike reviewed are Jean Rhys, V. S. Naipaul and Gustave Flaubert. And still other foreign authors like Bertolt Brecht, Milan Kundera and L. E. Sissman.

Updike appears fair in his assessment of author talents or ineptness. He isn’t afraid to call it where it lies. He touts and admonishes, sings praises and pans. Each sentence is one you’ll never read again. And such is the talent of this gifted writer. I plowed each furrow of each review and unearthed more poems, tales and letters from every corner of the world. This isn’t a book for everyone but if you read it, you may find a jewel or two and a better appreciation than I have.