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Defector Reads A Book

Defector Reads A Book Is Spending The Summer With The Late Cormac McCarthy

2:26 PM EDT on June 14, 2023

Two boys read a book in Brooklyn, 1915
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Over the weekend I sent Samer and Patrick a screenshot of a Reddit comment I'd discovered in the wild, and asked them to guess what book was being referenced. "I listen to it over and over again on my way to work right when I wake up," the user wrote. The answer to this riddle was Blood Meridian. I try not to judge, but I don't think this is a healthy relationship to have with that particular work. Just savoring some scalping imagery with your morning java. I'd recommend that this person try a light-hearted, blog-based book club instead, and the DRAB crew invites everyone to join us in reading some more Cormac McCarthy, who died on Tuesday at age 89.

There are plenty of ways into McCarthy—he published 12 novels, two as recently as last year—but we landed on All the Pretty Horses, the 1992 work that won him some hardware and thrust him into mainstream consciousness. It's the first installment of his cowboy-oriented Border Trilogy, and, within the context of his bibliography, it should be pretty palatable in terms of page count, prose style, and body count.

The demand for McCarthy books might be spiking right now, so try to plan ahead for this one instead of relying on a last-minute library visit. Besides your local library, you can try an independent bookstore or Bookshop.org (where you’ll also find a list of previous Defector Reads A Book selections and some other staff favorites). Then meet us back here on Wednesday, July 26 to discuss. We’ll also send out a reminder in The Cipher, the daily newsletter that goes out to all Pal-and-up subscribers. Yee-haw! Also, R.I.P.

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