29 June 2012

Not every one is a winner....

Last weekend I asked DS to pick out my next book from my Assignment Shelf.  Any book should be a winner, right?  These have already been hand-selected by me!

Well, I guess there's always going to be a dud.  I read the first 125 pages of Kim Edwards' The Memory Keeper's Daughter, and I did what I NEVER do.... I stopped reading it.

Not like, "Hmm, I'm not in the mood right now, I'll pick it up again later."  No, I quit the book.  I didn't like any of the characters, I couldn't bear hearing her describe baby hands as "stars" or "starfish" one more stinkin' time, and I couldn't get past the fact that there was a church memorial service for the "dead" baby, and supposedly a grave, but no death certificate?  No one inquired after the baby's body

And this is a BIG DEAL because I consider a novel to be all-of-a-piece, like a painting.  Remember Cameron staring at A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande JatteHe gets so close that all he can see is dots.  A novel, to me, is like those thousands and thousands of dots in a Pointilist painting.  You have to stand back and consider the whole thing.

So I did it, I broke my own rule.

My husband laughs that I will be reading a book, grumble that I hate it, but continue to read it.  It  takes more willpower - a conscious choice on my part - to PUT IT DOWN.  I slogged through Middlemarch in the '90s, not for a class, but "for fun."  I started it because a respected friend told me it is one of her favorite books of all time; I finished it because I felt that I owed it to George Eliot (and to my friend) to do so.  I didn't like Love in the Time of Cholera, but I kept reading, thinking, "It'll get better." And as with George Eliot, I felt like it would be disingenuous for me to dismiss Gabriel García Márquez unless I'd read the WHOLE thing (who the hell am I to judge them?). I'm dead honest here: the last two pages of Cholera were my favorite, and not just because it meant I was finished (thank god!) but because I actually enjoyed them in a way I did NOT enjoy the other 250 or so.  But was it worth keeping on?  No, I don't think so.

I know Memory Keeper's Daughter was a bestseller, but I don't follow the crowd on reading all that much anyway (yes, I read Twilight Book 1, and no, I didn't like it).  I know from my GoodReads friend list that more than a couple of people who read this blog really loved this book.  Bring on the say-it-ain't-so....

Sigh.  I'm just not a "chick lit" kind of girl. A while back I read Sue Monk Kidd's second novel, The Mermaid Chair, and LOATHED it (I kept reading that one because I was on a trip and it was the only book I had brought with me). The Secret Life of Bees is also on The Shelf. Wonder how I'll do.  More to come.

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