Thursday, March 31, 2011
Reading a really interesting book right now, maybe one of seven at this point. (I read books as I write them, apparently--many at once, taking an effort to finish one.) Anyway, it's called Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in A New England Ghost Town. Buy this. Very interesting and well-written. Alternates chapters between a notorious murder there in the 1980s and its history since 1623. Interspersed are shorter sections of the author's reason for going there; and how her listlessness matches that of other notable people who have been drawn there. The place seems to be a magnet for the "lost," many of whom become found, but also some who have not, such as the murderer. The town now is a ghost town. All that's there are markers of old cellar holes, glacier rocks with odd messages carved into them, courtesy of an eccentric millionaire, tons of walking paths, many of which end nowhere, and a sense of oddness and loneliness. Apparently nobody has lived there since the early to mid 1800s, when many citizens died from disease and the Revolutionary War, and the leftover widows kept dogs for company. Then the widows died, the dogs went wild, and everyone else left for the Gloucester shores (Dogtown is in the higher ground of Cape Ann, which is actually an island.) or stayed there and died as their houses fell apart around them. Truly fascinating book, odd and interesting in its design. If you're a writer, you'll want to emulate this. Underappreciated book available for cheap. Buy it. It made me also want to buy Anita Diamant's The Last Days of Dogtown, which I did via Borders.com for $1.99. This book brings to literary life many of the real people the first book mentions. Read the first, then the latter. If you're like me, you'll want to visit Dogtown, Massachusetts.