Friday, August 13, 2010

Book Talk

[Warning: There are sorta kinda maybe spoilers in here. Not big ones, but...if you're reading any of the books I'm discussing, and are the kind of reader for whom even a vague mention of a plot point might give stuff away, you might want to tread cautiously.]

So now that the bat mitzvah is over and done with, I've been reading. And listening, which I call reading, even if it's done with my ears. And I have some things to say.

First: Who here read Her Fearful Symmetry? Because I have questions. Oh, so many questions. Mostly: What. The. Fuck? Did she run out of ink, and so decide after an entire book of detail and emotion to basically write the last 30 pages in code? More specifically: What was Robert's plan/decision, exactly, there at the end? What did it have to do with Jessica? What did Valentina do or say to Julia that changed her completely? Oh, don't give me that love of a good man bullshit.

Seriously, I hate spending that much time getting invested in a book only to have it make NO SENSE at the end. If you have thoughts--even if that thought is that I clearly am illiterate, and the book made total and absolute logical sense throughout--feel free to drop me a note at ihavethings at gmail dot com. (I think there's an email link over there in the sidebar, actually. But just in case not...) I need to talk about this one with someone.

Second: I should have admitted above that I almost always hate book endings. It's so hard not to disappoint me by wrapping up a story that I'm invested in. I'm trying to think of books whose endings really worked for me, but I'm coming up blank. Anyone? Any suggestions?

Third: I also recently finished Joshua Ferris's The Unnamed. That ending, while not one I'd call out as superlative, didn't disappoint. I actually thought it was a kickass book, to be honest. Well, a kickass book with some pretty big holes in its plot. I mean, the relationship with the daughter? Could that have possibly been less well developed? (Except for the Buffy scenes. Those made me smile.) And, um, what was that whole murder subplot about? But the relationship between Tim and Jane felt so real, in the midst of such an unreal situation, that it didn't really bother me.

Plus, I have a special weakness for Crazy Walking People. And Tim? Pretty much defines that.

Fourth: Have I mentioned that I've started reading these obscure little books about a young wizard? A series about a boy named Harry Potter, and his exploits at school? (Yep, that's me on the cutting edge of literature. Next, I think I'm going to check out this hot young writer I've heard about...Charles, oh, Dickens, I think his name is...) I've been listening to the audiobooks, actually; each time I finish one, we have a family movie night to watch that movie. My goal is to try to get through the last two before Part One of the seventh book comes out in the theaters; I'm a stickler about that sort of thing. Now that I'm done with Her Fearful Symmetry, Half-Blood Prince is up next. Problem is, I more-or-less know what happens in the books; or, at least, I know the major plot points. In other words, I know who dies. And if I thought Order of the Phoenix was difficult to get through as a result of my Sirius love...This one's gonna hurt.

It amazes me--truly amazes me--that I'm enjoying these this much. It amazes me even more that I'm willing to admit it out loud. (My book snobbiness is as much a part of me as my penchant for thrift-store clothes shopping. If you don't know that about me, you don't know me. I'm not proud of it; it just is.)

Fifth: What should I read next? I have a book list that is literally hundreds of books long; I'll never get through them all. Which is why I need suggestions of MORE books from you guys. (If you're a reader, you understand.)

And no, no matter what you say, I'm not reading Twilight.


Leightongirl said...

LOVED The Unnamed, and, of course, thought of you...

AB said...

So, I have a bunch of audio books but most are tapes not CD's. My friends are not up to date on that new stuff. (G)

As soon as I can get to the corner I will give you a list of what I have.

Michele said...

If endings tend to piss you off, then DO NOT read Justin Cronin's "The Passage." I loved it while I was reading it and could not put it down but the ending was very, very disappointing. As it turns out, this is the first book in a trilogy. Damn. If I had known that before I started, I would have waited until all three books were out. In paperback.

ChrisinNY said...

I reread all the HP books each summer when we go away for a week. Even thought I know what is going to happen next I thoroughly enjoy the getting there. My two book suggestions "Homestead" by Rosina Lippi (it is NOT a romance/chick lit like her subsequent work and every book group to which I have introduced it loved it- don't believe the downer descriptions on Amazon) and "We Took to the Woods" or (better writing in "My Neck of the Woods") by Louise Dickinson Rich.

Leigh said...

I am smiling at your Harry Potter obsession - that was me last summer and I too listened to them. However, I can't stand the movies. I say only the first one and think I will skip the rest of them.

This summer I read the Sieg Larssen Trilogy. Loved them! Again I listened to the first 2 but read the 3rd.

Rignt now I am readding a pretty good mystery/thriller called The Likeness by Tanya French. It is set in Ireland and is somewhat of a sequel but not really.

siamese said...

I just read People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. Wonderful story. I ended up reading in bed until 2 am because I didn't want to put it down.

Elizabeth said...

I would have waited until all three books were out. In paperback.

po said...

Shoot, I wish I'd known you wanted someone to discuss Her Fearful Symmetry with, when I was actually in your presence. You actually mentioned the book once, in reference to OCD drugs, but I didn't realize you'd just read it and and wanted to talk about it.

Because we could have :D. If you still want to talk about it on NYE, I'm game. The ending pissed me off too.

Krista said...

Nice books you can read with E--the Hunger games--the 3rd book just came out and so you won't have to wait to read this. The author is a Scholastic writer for teens. Great series!