Saturday, January 25, 2014

3. The Twelve

By Justin Cronin (588 pp)

This is second in a series that started with The Passage which I liked a great deal. I was doing okay with this book until about page 300 where I became annoyed. It's a post-apocalyptic scary vampires caused by virus abused by military story and lots of things were happening to lots of people but I had no idea what was going on. As soon as I finished I searched for a wiki to fill in the gaps and the most informative item I found was this which is a lengthy review by a person who hated the book. This person articulates a lot of what didn't work for me: the bad guys are uniformly cartoonishly bad, the good guys ever so good; amazing coincidences; magical parental bonds - everyone who has lost a parent/child is miraculously reunited; even the eye-rolling bit where one character has a mystical relationship with a horse. Nothing original here. Lazy "feels like a first draft written at top speed" writing. Disappointing.

Monday, January 20, 2014

2. About Writing

By Samuel R. Delany (419 pp)

This is kind-of a cheat because I just skimmed the interviews. Delany is a sci-fi writer and has taught at Clarion West (among other places.) As others have said, this is a dense book. Lots of information to think about. But very interesting for a writer.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I Ditched Book #2

Normally I don't mention books I give up on and I'm not going to say the title of this one. The only reason I am bringing it up is because I was really excited about this book. And I had a little trouble finding it and wasn't sure I wanted to buy it in hardcover. So I asked the library about requesting materials and filled out a form. And they bought it. And I thought I was so clever getting this book into the library. Then I borrowed it.

Oh my. I don't even know where to start. The narrative style is a bit different but I got over that. Have you ever had a friend tell you about an event you missed and it's like, "Roger was there and his roommate Vernon. Vernon brought his girlfriend Peggy and her friend Sandy. My old roommate Winnie was there with her brother Fritz and his friend Craig and Craig's girlfriend Daisy" and after awhile your eyes glaze over because you can't keep them all straight and you don't have enough information about the people to even care? I was determined to slog through but just for kicks I checked the book reviews at major online book retailer. There were a few generic 5 star reviews and about a dozen 1 star reviews that said they kept hoping something would happen or the book would get better and it never did. It's on its way back to the library. Sorry taxpayers for getting the library to buy a crappy book.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

1. The Goldfinch

By Donna Tartt (5 million pp.)

You can't imagine how much it pains me to not be in love with this book. It's terrific writing and a great story but it is just way too long. Every bit drags on. Every time the scene changed, I would get swept up in the story again only to find myself wondering why we weren't getting anywhere. By the end I was so resentful of the slow pace, I didn't care what happened. I think there's an amazing 500 page in there. It's about a boy who the victim of a terrible event and comes into possession of a famous painting.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The 2014 Book List Starts Here

I don't even know why I do this. I told myself I wasn't going to do reading goals this year. But now that I'm sitting, here, I can't help it.

I read 37 books in 2013. I wish it was more but given all the other stuff I do and stuff I read that doesn't get counted, I guess it's not that bad. I also kept track of pages read with the idea of reaching at least 15K and I made it to 13K. Again, not counting the other stuff. I gave up on several books and I have a bunch of half-read things sitting in my room. I intended to finish them up by the ended of the year but became side tracked by Book #1 for 2014 which monopolized all of my reading time.

I gave up several magazines but in exchange we just subscribed to the New Yorker so I imagine my book total will look pretty similar at the end of this year.