Thursday, April 3, 2008

Books I likely won't finish (and some I will)

I was really psyched when I heard about the new book How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read. Yes, this is exactly what I need, I thought. Well, not so much. Pierre Bayard's attempt to get us off the hook of reading every classic that's ever been written, is actually so erudite that it's difficult to understand what he's even talking about. By chapter two I was zoning out; by chapter three I was done. It's probably just as well. Now I'll have one less overdue on my disreputable library card!
Another bigger disappointment was Charles Baxter's The Soul Thief. How could the man who wrote the glorious Feast of Love, so full of wonderfully flawed and delightful characters, be the same man to write this creepy book about a slimy character who insinuates himself into others' lives, taking on their friends and persona. Yuk. I'm not sure if I even gave this one the "rule of 50," but then, I don't have to cause I'm 59 now. This means that I only need to read 41 pages before giving something the heave-ho.

The exciting news is that Tuesday, with sweaty fingers on the keys, I hit the send button to Library Journal with the first of my reviews for that magazine. I had a two week turn-around to read the book, which I really liked, and send in the review. Of course, over achiever that I am, I made sure to get it in well before the 4/7 deadline. I had an immediate and, whew, complimentary reply from my editor (doesn't that sound wonderful?) and she said another book will be on its way shortly. Uh oh, I hope they won't expect a one week turn-around!
Oh, by the way, the book is called The Road Home by Rose Tremain. It'll be out in August so be on the lookout.

Now I've got to get the push on to finish Eat the Document by Dana Spiotta which is my book club choice for April. This one is right up my alley. A sure to be depressing and controversial look at the lives of two college students who took part in a radical protest action against the undeclared war in VietNam. Yes, some of us actually remember that horrible time in U.S. history as if it was yesterday, which is likely why we were so vocal in our opposition to Bush's declared war in Iraq. When something goes awry at the demonstration, Bobby and Mary are forced to separate, avoiding arrest by going underground. How this action affects their lives and the lives of their families over the next twenty years is the subject of this book which was nominiated for a National Book Award.

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