What it's all about...

The purpose of this blog is simple: Reading

My friends and me used to get immense joy from reading great books, sharing them, and maybe discussing them over a few beers. We no longer live in close proximity and for most of us free time comes at a premium.

This year, I have made it a personal goal of mine to turn off the TV and read more. I got through 3 books pretty quickly and realized that I wanted "that old thing back" - that community of being able to share these great books with others, so the blog was born.

If you see a book review and the book sounds interesting and you want to purchase the book, you can do so by directly linking to Amazon.com through a text link on the book title. I will be donating all proceeds (probably .15 this year) to Reading Is Fundamental (

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Rule of the Bone

Rule of the Bone: Novel, A
By Russell Banks
Book Reporter: MWP

Before I get to the review itself, I feel obliged to explain how Rule of the Bone found its way into my life (and subsequently many others).

Some time in 1995, one of my older brothers, while fulfilling his Culinary school externship in Northern California, stumbled upon Bone in a small bookstore and was intrigued by its title. You see, one of my other brothers has been nicknamed "Bone" for as long as I can remember, and the fact that there was a book about him ruling (albeit it extremely indirectly) was apparently enough to warrant a purchase.

I'm glad my brother made that purchase, because Rule of the Bone became, as far as yours truly and reading are concerned, an instant classic. The story, called by some a "modern-day Catcher in the Rye," draws you in from the opening line and keeps you engrossed until the final paragraph...

Meet Chap, a scrawny kid from Upstate New York who can't seem to keep himself out of trouble. You can blame it on an unhealthy relationship with his mother and stepfather, on his growing love of marijuana or on the fact that he hangs out with delinquints almost 10 years his senior. It really doesn't matter who you blame, though, because the adventures that he gets in as a result are nearly impossible to lose interest in (as are the quirky characters he comes in contact with).

Avid readers seem to constantly use the phrase "you won't be able to put it down" to garner interest in their most recent paperback love affair. I, unfortunately for you, will be no exception.

Banks's style, while a little awkward, makes for a very interesting read. A run-on sentence the size of a full paragraph is not uncommon, as the narrator's thoughts often drift unapologetically from one point to the next. I've read this book 4 or 5 times, and on more than one instance I would find myself re-reading a page to fully comprehend the story, if only for the fact that I didn't want to miss a single detail.

Bottom Line: It's hard to pin-point just how, exactly, Bone gripped my literary consciousness. I wrote this review over two years ago and, even though some of the details escape me, I will say this: if you consider yourself a fan of the adventurous or crave the type of interaction that only a vagabond could experience, I promise you will be compelled by what is ultimately an extremely emotional -- and at times hilarious -- coming-of-age story.

Recommendation: MUST READ

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Marty - an exceptional review that captures the true power of what is to many of us a novel of biblical value. I too remember being so engrossed in the novel that I took the book to work and denied my lunchtime gang for about a week to take my time to read it during my lunchtime. Likewise, I would look forward to each day ending so that I could go home and read more and more bone. Would the proper description be a "page turner"...dunno, but I would definitely say that this book is powerful enough to draw any man in. I strongly echo your recommendation of this book as a MUST READ. It was perhaps for me as well, my first MUST READ...