Tuesday, May 28, 2013

An Author a Day for Thirty Days: Day 28

[Yeah, today is my day, but I feel lousy and Gianna had already written this post since she was going on vacation. I'm ashamed to say I'm slacking. --Liz]

So this author a day thing is winding down so the pressure is on to find writers that we have somehow missed. I am heading to the beach for a few days, no phone, no television, no internet, no people. I will be in total isolation for nearly a week, so I needed to find a really good book to keep me occupied. Okay, that was an exaggeration. I will have access to a phone. The condo also comes with a flat screen television and complementary wifi. My point is, I want to bring a good book or two. The plan is to bring a new book and to re-read something because I rarely do that and thought this was a great excuse.

Scouring the shelves of my home yesterday I spied my small collection of Harry Crews books and knew immediately that I would choose one to re-read on vacation. It’s been years since I’ve read him and my memory at this stage is foggy at best, so it will be like reading him for the first time. I thought I would recommend a few books for you if you haven’t had the dark creepy pleasure of a Crews novel.

It's no secret that I love a novella so my suggestion for an introduction to Crews is The Car, about a man who dreams of doing something important, something huge, and settles on eating a car. This is probably the most accessible and certainly the least violent Crews novel. It’s also as funny as it is original. This is the book I am going to bring on vacation to re-read.

My favorite Crews book is his slim memoir, A Childhood: The Biography of a Place. Crews is often accused of going overboard in his novels, the violence and insanity of it all, but you can’t really appreciate his novels without reading about his life growing up in poverty living on tenant farms in Georgia. This is a must read for anyone who loves southern literature.

You say you just want to be a part of the Crews cult following already and want one book where you can get a real flavor of the man? Sure, jump in and read Classic Crews: A Harry Crews Reader. This collection includes the aforementioned novella, The Car and the novel, The Gypsy Curse. This book also included his memoir and several essays.

Crews is a mix of Flannery O’Connor and Hunter S. Thompson but, if you like Daniel Woodrell, Barry Hannah, or even Larry Brown, you should read Crews.  

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