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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Currently reading

Visible Empire
Hannah Pittard
The Deptford Trilogy
Robertson Davies
Life on Mars
Jennifer Brown
The Family Under the Bridge
Natalie Savage Carlson

Stolen Horses (Flyover Fiction)

Stolen Horses - Dan O'Brien I always enjoy reading a book I know nothing about. The slate is clean. I have no expectations--good or bad. It's a nice feeling to make up my mind about a book with little outside influence. Honestly, I don't do it enough.Stolen Horses was one of these reads. I'd never heard of it or its author until my MFA mentor recommended it to me. By the time I had a copy in hand, there were no forces pulling me one way or another aside from the singular recommendation.In spirit of this refreshing perspective, I probably shouldn't mention how good this book was. I probably shouldn't say that Stolen Horses was a simple, yet interesting read, or that the characters were very desirable to follow, even through their most trivial actions. And of course it would be a mistake to talk about how the end of the novel was a wonderful payoff.Of course, if I said all those positive things, I would be in error not to mention some of the things I didn't like in this novel. It would, after all, only make it fair. For instance, I might mention how O'Brien's theme was a bit heavy-handed at times. Or how the novel's bad characters weren't likable enough. Or that O'Brien should leave similes alone--really, I mean that in the nicest way (see pgs. 130 and 135). All relatively minor issues, but ones which did distract from a completely enjoyable read.The problem is, if I say anything good about this book, then a reader who trusts my judgment will want to read it and be disappointed that it didn't live up to the hype. Then they'll never read another one of my reviews. And what will I do then? No, it's better to say nothing. Give the reader a blank slate.So... read any good books lately?