Read Raylan, Punch Drunk, The Cartel, The Crime Investigators' Handbook, Ted Hughes poetry, some of Daughters of Africa.
Elmore Leonard's novel is so much better than the film 'Jackie Brown'. Melanie here is feisty and believable and buxom - the complete opposite to Bridget Fonda's version. I think there's no one better at subtle killer characterisation; the way Leonard describes Max Cherry's reaction to his wife's theatrics and the long goodbye to his marriage and career is what makes us feel he is class. He isn't but the depth and richness of the storytelling is. This includes the despicable Ordell and his auxillary women. Florida is an exotic place - so different to what it is today and to experience its seedy raw reality is far more refreshing than air con in hurricane season.
The same cannot be said for this later novel. I can't visualise this guy - much less care about whatever case he's working as they are all splintered and wedged in between various voluptuous seductive women. The best scenes involved the coal miner's revenge but the novel as a whole became something so different from the family weed dynasty saga it started out from. I think I was blindsided by the rampant sexism. I made myself finish it but can't make myself remember it.
I can read Ted Hughes all day, every day, any day. Not just because he's from South Yorkshire nor because I had to study him throughout high school till I knew over twenty of his poems back to front, inside out. He's just got this pure economy and efficiency of language that is simultaneously of the common and of the mystical. He can express the thing itself in spare words, nothing wanting, nothing lacking. I read one poem a day and my brain's fizzing. Before I start the morning's work, it's a poem of Ted's to lift the dirt. Each one is packed solid with thought and experience. It's my solid belief that if we read each other poetry instead of texts and tweets, the world would be a better place. I find it hard to see how you can go to war while mulling over a poem. Poetry is the algebra of ideas.
God bless Margaret Busby. Seriously, God bless that lady. She collected and curated such a wealth of gems, voices and literature when the world was still blind and deaf and thus secured for us a mighty heritage. Thank you!