Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Completed: The Curse of the Library Haul

Perhaps what sucks the most about this curse is that the remaining books are now a week overdue, and I'll have to pay for this swill. I knew Wendy Wasserstein by reputation, if not by her work. I knew that she was a respected playwright, I'd remembered reading her article in the New Yorker about trying to conceive a child later in life, and I liked the title of her only novel, The Elements of Style. So I gave it a spin.

I did not stay for the whole ride. Have you ever seen The Housewives of Orange County? This was the written equivalent of that. There was one character (Fran, the "it" pediatrician, who ties all the other characters together) that I could actually stand. The rest of them were vacuous, status-driven materialists, and not very interesting. There were too damn many of them, so I could never keep track of whose intellectual predilections were evidenced by her donations to the ballet, as opposed to donating to cancer; and who was a simple gal who never wanted more out of life than a husband, two darling children and a Tiffany rock the size of her head. Nor could I really give a shit.

Maybe it would've gotten better. The book was supposed to be statement about life among the upper crust after 9/11, and maybe more of that would've come out. The only significant change I noted was that the characters went to Palm Springs instead of abroad for Christmas, but perhaps the characters would've developed. I had totally lost interest, though.

It's sad: I checked out nine books, read or started all of them, and didn't really like any of them that much. Election was probably my favorite, but two weeks later, I can barely remember reading it. I recently bought a couple of books, so I'm taking a brief break from the library, but let's hope I do better next time. Any recommendations?


Stella Devine said...

I'm reading Grand Theft by Bill Mason at the moment. It's quite interesting, but not completely gripping.

Some of my favourites which you have probably already gotten to are:
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Down Under by Bill Bryson
Italian Neighbours by Tim Parks
Dead Famous by Ben Elton

I also enjoy Matthew Reilly's books. They're non-stop action from beginning to end. The characterisation stinks, particularly the women, who only differ in hair colour and breast size, but they are an entertaining read nonetheless.

The first couple of Louise Rennison's books made me laugh out loud. They're aimed at 14-year-old girls, but I can still clearly remember being that age so they struck a chord with me. The first book is Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging.

My least favourite book of all time is probably Even Cowgirls Get The Blues by Tom Robbins. I hated it even more than I hated Citizen Girl, but I forced myself to read the whole thing because apparently it's a cult classic. So if you want to punish yourself, there's a good way to start.

Alto2 said...

I agree with your comments about Wasserstein's The Elements of Style. I had such high hopes for this book -- I identified greatly with the author, too -- but the novel just stunk. Stunk! Those were a few hours of my life I'll never get back. I felt the same way about Atonement: I couldn't even get through the first three chapters.

Want a great read? Try Bill Buford's Heat or The Shadow Divers. Both are non-fiction books that read like fiction. Another great choice for a book club is Ranya Idliby's The Faith Club.

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