Monday, January 12, 2009

Book Blogging

I've decided to blog about the books I read this year. I read a lot of books, and looking back at the end of the year, I'm never able to quite remember everything I've read, for better or worse.

I ended last year and began this year with a book called Strange Nervous Laughter by Bridget McNulty, which'll be coming out in March. I've got to admit, this one left me cold. I'm able to read a book that doesn't necessarily appeal to me and still find something good about it, or pick who it will appeal to, but this one was just on my nerves from about five pages in.

The two biggest issues I had were the shallow characters that the author tried to make deep and a major storylines that just went nowhere. I felt like the author wrote this book to show how literary she is. For instance, one of the most irritating characters in the book is a woman who wears a “corset of cynicism”. Good. Lord. Maybe it's just too experimental or surrealistic for me - that's one genre of literature I've never been able to completely get on board with.

The story begins with an interesting scenario – a robbery at a grocery store in Durban, South Africa. Three of the main characters are in the store being robbed, but the robbery just becomes a throwaway reference point after it's over. The scene was just there to introduce the characters.

And speaking of the characters, there are six main characters, all of whom not only have their own little dysfunctional superpower but who have also had some abysmal childhoods. These six damaged folks end up pairing off and eventually falling apart.

I was frustrated with this book early on, and looking back, I still can't say I found something I truly enjoyed. I'll have to see what the word is on this book when it hits the shelves.

I just picked up a book I got during my BEA 2006 run; I've been dying to read it for ages and just decided to take a break from everything else and grab it. Mary, by Janis Cooke Newman, is a fictional autobiography of Abraham Lincoln's widow, Mary Todd Lincoln. History nerd that I am, I've been interested in her for years and the book is very readable. It's told in the first person from Mary's point of view, right after her commitment for insanity 10 years after President Lincoln's assassination; she's looking back at her life and currently, I'm up to when her father remarries her stepmother, who's apparently a wicked witch. I think I'm going to enjoy this read.

1 comment:

lunaticraft said...

A corset of cynicism? Wow, that's... fascinating... hahaha

I love the fact that you'll be blogging about books! I've been saying I'm going to start doing that for ages... I just never seem to get around to it!