Noting that book blogging onften focuses on new releases, here’s how Throwback Thursday works:
- Pick a book released more than 5 years ago.
- Write up a short summary of the book (include the title, author, and cover art) and an explanation of why you love it.
- Link up your post at The Housework Can Wait or Never Too Fond of Books.
- Visit as many blogs as you can, reminisce about books you loved, and discover some “new” books for your TBR list!
Rope Burns by F.X. Toole
From my original entry, 09/30/08:
From the back of the book:
“F.X. Toole was a trainer and licensed cut man in the world of professional boxing. He was seventy when Rope Burns, his first book, was published, and had been writing and battling rejection letters for forty years. He died two years later, in 2002.”
Something to keep in mind next time I’m I bemoan being in this profession a mere 10-ish years with more paper incoming than outgoing.
My edition of this book was put out to coincide with he release of the movie Million Dollar Baby. Toole wrote the short story/novella and it’s included in this collection. And while it is a very good story (and the movie was faithful to it), “Rope Burns,” for which the collection was originally entitled, is the crown jewel of the book. Toole weaves the story of a black Olympic-hopeful boxer and his white trainer against the background of the LA riots.
Toole’s writing is solid. He knows his stuff and he does a wonderful job of putting actions into words. From a craft point of view, I’m going to spend some time in the future picking apart his fight scenes. I’m terrible with action and there’s much to learn. My one criticism of the collection was that some of the details surrounding the fight business are repetitive. It was a relief to hit “Rope Burns” which is more about the fighters and less about the fights.
Why read it today? I agree with the blurb from Dan Rather: this is “not just fight fiction at its finest, it is excellent fiction, period.” What was said about documentaries/non-fiction last week pretty much goes for fiction too, in the end. Good fiction should take you into a world you don’t think you care about and make it compelling. Which is why “I don’t read that genre” should never be an excuse for not at least giving a book a try.