Thursday, June 29, 2006

On the Pile

Is fiction getting worse or am I getting curmudgeonly? Because it’s been a long time since I’ve read any fiction that I’ve really liked. Even stuff that gets rave reviews, I’m kind of meh about. Since March, I’ve only read two fiction books that I’ve truly enjoyed: The Dead Fish Museum and A Dirty Job. Well, three if you count Deogratias, but that was a graphic novel and I consider those separately.

Part of the problem could be the conditions under which I’m reading these books, that is, hurrying to meet deadlines.

But I think there’s also a lot of overhyped bad writing getting a pass by lazy and/or cowardly reviewers who don’t want to point out that the emperor has no clothes. Not that I’m the end-all and be-all of reviewers, mind you.

And, of course, it could just be that my interests and tastes are changing and I’m more of a nonfiction reader now.

Finished: Theft by Peter Carey. This is one of those aforementioned books that received heaps of praise that I’m not sure it deserved. But because it received all that praise, I’m questioning my own judgment of it. Am I just cranky and depressed? Am I too unsophisticated or unschooled to appreciate it? What am I missing that everyone else sees? Carey won a Booker for a previous book, which further leads me to believe that I’m just not smart enough for this book. But then I remember that DBC Pierre also got a Booker---for the abomination that is Vernon God Little, one of the few books that I’ve actually wanted to physically harm. So . . .

Not that Theft was an entirely awful book. It had it’s moments. And it had potential as a satire of art-world pretentiousness or as a clever Hitchcockian how-done-it. But overall, I found it pretentious, artless, and unsatisfying. None of the characters were at all sympathetic and the plot dragged. Another disappointment.

Currently Reading: Somebodies and Nobodies by Robert W. Fuller. He had me hooked---for about five pages---but only 15 pages in, he’s already circled back on his point so many times that I’m saying “Alright already. I get it!”

On Deck: Not sure. This pile needs some reshuffling. I have scads of review books, some of which I’m just going to have to accept that I won’t get to review, as well as prep reading for school and library books.

Added to the Pile: That’s it. For the month of July, I’m banned from requesting review books or going to the library for any reason other than to return books.

For Review
Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston
Tomorrow They Will Kiss by Eduardo Santiago

From the Library
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology by Joseph Campbell


At 10:35 AM , Blogger Scott said...

Good fiction is hard to find, and I think that a lot of the books that win prized like the "Booker" are a little on the pretentious side.

Have you hear "The Kite Runner"? That was a great fiction. Maybe you can add it to the pile for August.



At 11:51 AM , Blogger Liz said...

I liked Lolly Winston's last book, Good Grief. I've been waiting for another one!

At 11:53 AM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

liz - me too.

lisa - interesting - theft did get a lot of hype. i guess i'll check it out anyway, but i'm not in a rush now ;)

At 8:47 PM , Blogger Elsa said...

I agree with Scott. The Kite Runner was our first book club pick about a year ago, and we all loved it (6 of us).


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