Sunday, October 26, 2014

That Book Sitting on Your Shelf

You keep meaning to read that book.  You've had it for years.  But crazy prolific Ruth Rendell has written another thriller so naturally you decide to read her book first.  And surprise - who knew there was an early Henning Mankell novella?  Jump An Event in Autumn to the top of the list.

So A Prayer for Owen Meany remains on the shelf.  Remains on the shelf so long that by the time you finally decide to read it, it's gone missing.  Annoyed, you order a new copy.  The day it arrives you vow no other books will distract you.  A Prayer for Owen Meany is written by John Irving.  You adore John Irving.  The Cider House Rules is one of your favorite novels.  So why haven't you read Owen Meany yet?  What's wrong with you?

The book appears, you begin to read and it's good, not quite Cider House Rules good, not at first.  But then you get sucked in.  You find yourself talking about the book at dinner to your husband.  You email a friend who has read the book and compare notes. When you wake up in the morning on the weekend, you'd like to shoo away your family, find a cozy spot and devour Owen Meany.  You're obsessed.  

Why did it take such a long time?  I'm sure I have dozens of books like Owen Meany on my shelf.  I bet we all do.  So here's a challenge - go to your bookshelf right now and pull out that book you know you want to read.  

Do it now.  Don't wait.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I Didn't Love Gone Girl

I wanted to like the book.  The reviews were good, it sounded like the perfect read.

I hated the husband character.  Immediately.  And I guessed the plot almost as quickly - it felt like a leftover episode of Law and Order.  The wife appeared.  I hated her, too.  Spoiler alert - husband and wife turn out to be unreliable narrators.  Not one of my favorite literary devices.  And the ending - no spoiler alert here - let's just say I loathed it.  Threw-the-book-across-the-room loathed it.  Talked to a friend about the book and he said, "Yeah, it was okay.  But the ending sucked."

Another friend told me she didn't like Gone Girl either, but I should read Gillian Flynn's first novel, Sharp Objects.  I was dubious, but gave Sharp Objects a try.  And to my surprise, I enjoyed it.  A lot.  Camille Preaker, the main character, is flawed and fascinating.  There's darkness and edginess and unpredictability throughout the book and I couldn't wait to finish it.

Will I see the movie version of Gone Girl?  No.  Sharp Objects is being done as a TV series.  I'll wait for that, thanks.