Tag Archives: blood meridian

Books Every Guy Should Read (Pt. 2)

I told you the list wouldn’t end with part one. In fact, it won’t end with part 2, either…

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
One of the greatest novels ever written, and my all-time favorite piece of fiction. It’s a tale of desperate survival, unrestrained depravity, and courage in the face of horrifying odds. But most importantly, it is a love story; a powerful love story. One that passionately depicts the fierce, undying affection that burns between a father and his son.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
I really don’t know of anyone who hasn’t read this series. Timeless fantasy from the pen of a master writer.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
If I had to pick just one science fiction novel to call my favorite, it would almost certainly be this futuristic stunner from Ray Bradbury. It doesn’t revolve around aliens, robots, or mutating viruses. The primary focus is mankind… and the dangers inherent to a society that’s gone almost completely brain-dead.

Animal Farm by George Orwell
A classic, and one of those books that leaves a lasting impression on those who read it. Even though Stalinist Russia was the target when it was first written, its message is still crystal clear and relevant today.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
An intensely haunting picture of the deep dark ugliness that naturally lurks within the sinful heart of man. By no means a pleasant read, but worthwhile one nevertheless.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
This one will help you cultivate a “healthy interest” in devils, and also make you more acutely aware of the destructive ways in which Satan and his fallen angels work in the hearts, minds, and lives of men – especially Christians.

Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
Vintage Wodehouse. ‘Nuff said.

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Eschewing the conventions of the Western genre, McCarthy paints a raw and unforgettable picture of the oft glamorized “wild west” and weaves a bleak but thought-provoking tale of human depravity and violence. Beneath the grit and the author’s exceptional prose, it’s an unforgettable story that reaches out and hits you in a way you’ll never forget.

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
There’s no denying Asimov’s talent for spinning an engrossing sci-fi yarn. This collection of short-stories is worth looking into, though caution should be exercised with regard to the author’s distinctly humanistic worldview.

The Holy War by John Bunyan
Most people recognize Bunyan as the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, but this one is every bit as good. An incredible tale of spiritual warfare and redemption. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre
I’m still working my way through this one, but so far, I have to say it’s one of the best espionage novels I’ve ever read. The story is intelligent, the characters are colorful and multi-dimensional, and the psychological tension is well-crafted.

The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander
Another classic fantasy series, delightfully rich in story, characters, and adventure.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
If you’ve seen the movie Men In Black (1997), you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say that this book is the literary equivalent of that movie. Funny, funny, funny.

Fear Is the Key by Alistair MacLean
An intelligent thriller that grabs you from the first page. It’s fast-paced, intense, and unpredictable. And I really mean unpredictable: you’ll never know where your going until you get there. And, in the case of this novel at least, that’s a good thing.

Have any recommendations of your own? Any book you think should be featured in future installments of this list? If so, be my guest and share ‘em down in the comments section.

Book Review: Blood Meridian

Based on historical events that transpired on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who falls in with a band of bounty hunters in pursuit of Indian scalps. Eschewing the conventions of the Western genre, McCarthy paints a raw and unforgettable picture of the oft glamorized “wild west” and weaves a bleak but thought-provoking tale of human depravity and violence.

Having read and appreciated two other McCarthy titles (The Road, No Country For Old Men), I suppose it was inevitable that I should pick up Blood Meridian, hailed by prestigious literary critic Harold Bloom as “the major esthetic achievement of any living American writer”. Having read it, I can almost agree with that assessment: I still consider The Road to be McCarthy’s finest work, but Blood Meridian is formidable in its own right.

I’ve praised McCarthy’s writing before, and I do so now again. His prose is positively breathtaking: elegant yet plain, simple yet complex, fantastical yet earthy. This alone places Blood Meridian head-and-shoulders above the vast majority of contemporary fiction – combined with an authentic narrative and vivid characters, it simply soars.

The major theme of the story is human depravity and the horrors of which we are capable when left to ourselves. It is as clear a picture of man in need of redemption as I have seen in fiction. At the beginning of the book is a quote by Jocob Boehme which reads,

It is not to be thought that the life of darkness is sunk in misery and lost as if in sorrowing. There is no sorrowing. For sorrow is a thing that is swallowed up in death, and death and dying are the very life of darkness.

McCarthy’s characters – like all unregenerate men – are hell-bent on pursuing their own wicked path. They are not sorrowed by their actions; they feel no misery over the evil they have done. They are so blind and deadened that they cannot see the darkness of their own hearts. And if they cannot see the darkness of their own hearts, they cannot see the need for Light.

As title and the premise suggest, Blood Meridian is a very violent book – probably the most violent book I’ve ever read. Killings are frequent, hard-hitting, and bloody, and generally calculated to make your stomach turn. That said, it’s important to add that the violence is never sensationalized: McCarthy does not revel in it nor exploit it for entertainment value. He simply presents it to the reader in a very real, matter-of-fact way. And the story is all the more effective for it.

Graphic imagery, some crude language, and one brief instance of implied sexuality go hand-in-hand with the violence. Quite obviously, this book is suitable only for the most mature readers. Emphasis on the word “mature”.

It’s hard to say one loves Blood Meridian. For those who can handle its harshness, however, I do believe it’s worth reading. Beneath the grit and McCarthy’s exceptional prose, it’s a haunting, thought-provoking tale that reaches out and hits you in a way you’ll never forget.