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An Unexpected Effect of Reading Blood Meridian

Generally speaking, I think obsessive behavior is usually a bad thing. But I have an obsession that I’ll admit: I am reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy for the fourth time this year. This probably brings the total up to at least 30.

Lately, it is the only thing that stops the tics. I can’t prescribe it to you as a remedy for your Tourette Syndrome, but it is the current ameliorative for my own. And the most intensely I study the book, the calmer I get.

I’ve been buying a new copy each time. Then I go through that copy and mark a specific thread or theme. So far this year I’ve done, with four copies:

  • Instances of mercy (shortest list!)
  • Words spoken by the kid
  • Words spoken by the judge
  • descriptions of landscape

BM rewards careful reading, and it’s rewarding me in a way I never could have anticipated right now. It makes me focus. It calms me down. I don’t even wonder why because it just feels so good to sit still, even if it means wading through gore and hanging out with judge holden.

If you’re a McCarthy nut and you’re looking for a new take on things, Peter Josyph’s Adventures In Reading Cormac McCarthy has some great insights.

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  • Jack M August 12, 2013, 11:32 am

    Very impressive! I think there’s also a book available on Amazon entitled Notes on Blood Meridian. Reading it probably calms you down because the prose just pulls you in and won’t let you go.

    BM is also available in hardcover BTW.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 13, 2013, 9:00 am

      There are plenty of concordances on BM, but Notes is my favorite.

  • Drew K August 15, 2013, 3:15 pm

    Have you read Suttree? My personal McCarthy favorite

    On the other hand, the Horses trilogy just never clicked for me.

    Boy, I hope he’s got one more novel in him.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 15, 2013, 3:59 pm

      I love Suttree! I like the trilogy okay, but definitely don’t love it.

      He’s been working on a book called The Passenger for a while. I really hope it comes out.